It’s the moment all Downton Abbey fans have been waiting for since the end of the third series of the hugely popular ITV1 period drama ended earlier this year – the 2012 Christmas Special, and if you simply can’t wait the 18 days left to watch it, we have a sneaky peak at what is in store for you here!
Fans of the hit drama will know how at the end of the last series the Grantham family were, surprisingly, all happy after a heart breaking and highly emotional series which saw Bates (Brendan Coyle) released from prison and Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) dying in childbirth.
Ever since the show ended, rumours have been rife that Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) would not be returning to the hit show for a fourth series due to American Commitments, and even this morning we reported how Julian Fellowes, the genius creator behind this epic phenomenon, had admitted there wasn’t anything he could do to stop him from leaving, and that his character would not be recast, meaning that the only way out for Matthew, was pretty much the same way as Lady Sybil (though probably under different circumstances we are guessing)by being killed off.
However, we can confirm to you now that Matthew hasn’t left just yet and is very much a part of the Christmas special, as this picture promoting it proves – though, whether he makes it to the end or not remains to be seen, as if he isn’t appearing in any episodes of the fourth series, then this would be the perfect time to write him out.
Could this Christmas special be a platform to his exit, destined to be heart-breaking no matter how it happens? Make sure you have plenty of tissues at the ready, just in case!
The festive episode is due to take place in Scotland, and the Grantham’s travel up to Duneagle Castle to visit Rose, the wayward god daughter of the Dowager Countess who shocked all by flapping in a nightclub during the last series, and her parents in the Highlands.
Things start off friendly enough at first; however the festive cheer soon runs out when the two families fall out quite bitterly!
Meanwhile, back at the great house and Carson (Jim Carter) makes it his mission to keep the downstairs servants working as hard as possible, which may prove harder than anticipated when the country fair diverts their concentration, meaning there may be some telling’s off in store!
And finally, it seems that the Downton mistletoe will not go to waste this year, as romance is in the air for house cook, Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol)!
Cast of the hit show were spotted filming the special at the Inverary castle in Argyll, back in August this year, as STV reported at the time, which caused a lot of exciting amongst the locals, with the actors regularly popping into the nearby Loch Fyne Hotel between shoots.
Downton Abbey is due to air this Christmas Day at 8.45pm on ITV1/ITV1 HD.
Watch an interview with Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Lady Cora, discussing what to expect in the clip below: