Brown-Findlay, the actress who plays idealistic young Sybil, was shot in sultry pose by the photographer Rankin as she discussed her plans for life after Downton.

“I’m hungry for a cold and mean character. I’d love it if someone thought I could play gritty. I want to play a baddie – someone really scary,” she said.

The 22-year-old trained as a ballerina but her hopes of a dance career were dashed by injury. She took up acting as an alternative and landed her first major role in the period drama.

She told The Hunger magazine: “I feel a bit like a kid who gets into a club with their fake ID, and everyone there knows they’re under-age. To be included in these lists of ‘new talent’ with such great people is a bit bizarre.

“It’s good, though, because now I have to step up and rise to it, and learn as much as I can. That’s why I like working with people like Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery and all these wonderful actors in Downton Abbey. If you’re going to learn anything at all, it will be from these people.”

The Hunger, Rankin’s biannual magazine, and www.thehunger.tv launch on November 17

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