Downton Abbey Christmas Spoilers: New Pictures released and Fifth series confirmed! (PICTURES)

by Anna Howell

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With only a few more weeks to wait till this year’s Downton Abbey Christmas Special, ITV have released a few more pictures to whet our appetites!

Last Christmas at Downton was a mixed bag of emotions with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) giving birth to baby George much to everyone’s delight, none more so than her husband Matthew (Dan Stevens).

Unfortunately he was so overcome with emotion that he managed to crash his car on the way home from the hospital, killing him instantly and leaving the entire Grantham family in a state of grief for the last series which ended on our ITV screens last month.

So it was with an element of dread that we waited for news of the big events set to unfold in Downton this Christmas, but with producers promising no more death and from the looks of pictures released so far it certainly does look like it is going to be a much merrier affair.

And now ITV have released even more pictures for us to feast on ahead of the two hour special due to hit our ITV screens at 8.30pm this Christmas Day.

In the pictures we have a first glimpse of Paul Giamatti in his role as Cora’s brother Harold, alongside his on-screen mother Martha Levinson, who is being reprised by the legendary US actress Shirley MacLaine this festive special, as well as Michael Benz who joins the cast playing a character called Ethan.

As we previously reported the Christmas Special will focus on the ‘coming out’ of Lady Rose (Lily James) who is taken to Buckingham Palace for the very prestigious coming of age passage.

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Enjoying the celebrations, Martha and Harold, who have come over to visit from New York after Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) sailed over to them last series to help them out of a spot of bother, find themselves thoroughly enjoying the social engagements of London’s elite.

Also in the special we see Isobel (Penelope Wilton), who had a very tough transition last series following the death of her son, finally start to smile again when she bags herself an admirer – but who?

Meanwhile there are treats in store for the Downstairs staff as Daisy (Sophie McShera) receives “an unexpected invitation” whilst Carson (Jim Carter) treats the servants to a “special day out”.
Of course it won’t all be fun and frivolity in the special, which is set in summer again, as the Grantham family find themselves caught up in a royal scandal whist visiting Buckingham Palace, which was actually filmed at Lancaster House!

Finally, and if we could wrap this news up and put it under your tree for you we would, after the success of the last series, it has been confirmed by the powers that be that Downton Abbey has been commissioned for a fifth series, due to start filming next year, on which the Mirror newspaper report Gareth Neame, managing director of Carnival Films, saying: “We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television.”

“All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year.”

Downton Abbey returns to our ITV screens for its two hour Christmas Special on Christmas Day ay 8.30pm – Watch an interview with Shirley MacLaine in the clip below: