Hugh Bonneville has taken the blame for Isis the dog being killed off on 'Downtown Abbey'.

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville

The 55-year-old actor - who played Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in the ITV period drama - admitted he was behind the decision to cut the loveable Labrador from the show's sixth and final season because it fit the timeline.

He told The Sun newspaper's TV Bizarre column: "We always try to fudge time in 'Downtown' because if you analyse it too closely you'd go nuts.

"That is one of the reasons we got rid of the dog -- someone had done some nerdy chart working out how old all the characters would be if we started in 1912.

"They'd worked out by the time we got to series six the dog should be dead. So I said, 'Wouldn't it be fun to kill the dog?' because, let's face it, most British men at this time are more attached to their dog than their children. It would get the dog lovers at home weeping."

When the fifth season aired in 2014 and revealed the dog's death, it was thought the pooch got the boot because Isis had the same name as the Islamist terror organisation, when she was actually named after the caring Egyptian goddess in mythology.

Hugh was baffled that people would think the writers would name the pet after the extreme group, and he has previously dismissed all speculation.

He said: "Anyone who genuinely believes the Series 5 storyline [set in 1924] involving the animal was a reaction to recent world news is a complete berk.

"I find it rather odd. I think odd is a polite way of saying it - I do think people are bonkers that think that we'd develop a storyline based on such utterly appalling world events."

Isis - whose real name is Ellie - first debuted on screens in series 3.

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