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Dan Stevens apologizes for his "Downton Abbey" death

Dan Stevens is sorry, guys.

The actor is apologizing for the timing of the death of his "Downton Abbey" character, Matthew Crawley, which happened during an episode that aired on Christmas Day in the U.K.

"I am sorry about that!" he in an interview with Radio Times magazine. "I think what emerged is that it's an unwritten rule that you're not supposed to die on British television on Christmas Day, and that, specifically, was not my doing."

His character died in a car crash after visiting his wife, Lady Mary, and their newborn son at the hospital. If viewers' holiday celebrations were dampened by the tragic plot twist, Stevens said it wasn't his doing: "I didn't have any say in the manner in which he went. Ultimately, it was in the hands of Julian [Fellowes] and the producers."

But the 30-year-old actor conceded having the character die was better than writing him off in other ways. "It was right that he didn't run off and have an affair with somebody," Stevens said. "I don't think that would have been right for Matthew as a character."

Stevens left "Downton" to pursue other opportunities."It's nice that people care, I suppose, about the show, but yeah, you know...I had to do what I had to do," he said back in March.

With Matthew now gone, Fellowes has said next season (due to premiere in the U.S. on Jan. 5) will focus on Lady Mary as she finds herself and rebuilds her life.