The much anticipated second series of Downton Abbey will return to ITV on Sunday, 18 September at 9pm.
We pick up with the show in November 1916, and the family and servants are busy working to get the house ready for a fund-raising concert to equip the village hospital to take more casualties from the front.
New housemaid, Ethel Parks’, (Amy Nuttall) boasting does not make her popular with the others especially O’Brien who plays a cruel trick on Ethel in front of the family.
Feeling left out of the war effort, Robert is delighted when he receives a letter suggesting he is to be given the Colonelcy of the local volunteers and is excited about the prospect of finally being able to fight for his country. However, after attending a regimental dinner his appointment is not all it first seemed…
Isobel informs Robert and Cora that Matthew is back from the front on leave and plans to visit Downton in time for the concert. On hearing the news of his visit Edith wastes no time in telling Mary that Matthew is not coming alone.
Sybil, shocked at the death of so many young men at the front, decides to become an auxiliary nurse and enrols for training in York. Determined to have a role in the war effort Edith learns to drive and hopes it isn’t long before her new skill can be put to good use.
Meanwhile, down in the servant’s hall Carson is trying to compensate for having only one footman and Mrs Hughes fears for his health. William is desperate to do his bit but doesn’t want to upset his father by signing up.
Mrs Patmore and Daisy are surprised when asked to teach one of the young ladies how to bake a cake and O’Brien is drawn closer to Lady Cora in a bid to ease her guilty conscience. Anna is in for a surprise when Lord Grantham’s valet, Bates, returns from London. Will his news mean Anna’s dreams are about to come true?
Mrs Hughes overhears some disturbing news when an unexpected visitor turns up at Downton – news that could threaten the future of the family and have devastating consequences for two of the staff.
Above stairs, Mary informs the family that she has met Sir Richard Carlisle, (Iain Glen) the owner of scurrilous newspapers and a war profiteer and would like him to visit Downton. However, will Mary ever be able to escape the scandal of her past?
Having seen her son’s staff struggling with only one footman the Dowager Countess, Violet makes every effort to prevent Isobel’s butler Molesley and Robert’s footman William from being called up for service – by whatever surreptitious means she can. However, her meddling threatens to backfire on those she tries, however misguidedly, to protect?
When Matthew returns to the front he forms an unlikely alliance with former Downton footman, Thomas whom he is surprised to see in the medical corps in the trenches, but how will the two cope with the horrors that lie ahead?