Downton Abbey series 3: Episode One Preview! (Contains Spoilers)
It is finally here, the day that Downton Abbey premieres its much-anticipated third series, though for Unreality TV this will be a repeat as we were lucky enough to be invited to the world premiere of episode one at London’s Mayfair hotel back in July, where we had the pleasure of watching the delightful world of Downton brought to life, sat next to the cast!
And for those of you who simply cannot wait till tonight to see what happens, we have our preview here!
Fans of the iconic, worldwide phenomenon that is Downton Abbey, will know how the Christmas special left us with a promise of marriage between Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dochery), and the start of series three see’s the entire house in full preparation for the upcoming nuptials (they probably wanted to do it quickly so they wouldn’t have a chance to change their minds again.)
So yes, there is certainly a wedding on the cards, but in typical, yet spectacular, Downton style, you are left wondering if it will happen right up until the moment you know for sure (and for some, even a few more moments after too), but we are not going to tell you if they do or don’t get married, but we will explain to you why there is a question mark hanging over it in the first place.
Matthew is informed that after the first two beneficiaries of the father of his late fiancée, Lavinia’s, father could not be traced following his death (in the Christmas special) meaning he is set to inherit the entire estate, and the huge fortune that comes with it. He confides in Mary that he would not feel comfortable accepting this as he is still wracked with guilt believing Lavinia’s death was a result of her broken heart having witnessed him and Mary kissing in the ballroom.
Elsewhere, Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) is acting rather suspiciously, darting off to London to consult his solicitor. The reason, it transpires, is that the investments he sank the majority of his wife, Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) money into, have all plummeted following the war, and he is left with practically nothing. He vows to sort the problem without it affecting his family, especially the wedding that they are planning, but when things get far too complicated, cash wise, he is forced to tell Cora everything.
Pregnant Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and her husband, former Downton Chauffer, Tom Branson (Allen Leech) arrive for the wedding, but despite everyone’s greatest efforts, the class divide is not only apparent, it is uncomfortable. When an old flame of Sybil’s turns up for a party, he takes great offense at their marriage and sets out to humiliate Tom by spiking his drink knowing his overbearing political opinions cannot be silenced when intoxicated. This works like a charm, but the party soon realises what has happened, and a gallant Matthew publicly slams the culprit and declares Tom his best man, telling him they need to stick together as brothers in law, being married to two of the strongest women in the country. (You will probably cry here, we did)
Also arriving for the wedding is Cora’s mother, Martha (Shirley MacLaine) who ruffles the feathers of the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) to the point of absolute hilarity. Her mission is to introduce her very British family to the new modern world of the 20′s that the war has created. Most are happy with the refreshment of her nature, but the Dowager Countess cannot be convinced, and the two spar in some of the best comedy scenes British drama has ever seen.
Daisy (Sophie McShera) is desperate for Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) to employ a new kitchen maid so she can finally get her promotion to assistant cook, but with the financial problems facing Lord Grantham he has put a stop on any more staff being employed.
One new employee who does manage to get put on the books, however, is Alfred Nugent (Matt Milne) who is the nephew of O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran). Alfred has been given the job as a direct result of his aunt’s manipulation, and proves repeatedly that he is not experienced to work in such a place as Downton, with his last job being that of a hotel waiter.
We are sorry to report that Bates (Brendan Coyle) is still behind bars, but there is some hope as his wife Anna’s (Joanne Froggatt) tireless efforts to prove his innocence has managed to have the death sentence he was issued replaced with that of a life in prison.
Things come to a head in the great house when Lord Grantham is forced to tell his daughters of his financial position, preparing them for the certainty that he will lose Downton Abbey. Mary turns to Matthew and asks him to help her family (which is also his family) to save their estate (which is the estate he is set to inherit) with the money that he has inherited from Lavinia’s father. He refuses, point blank, he does not want money or estates that he does not deserve (he is obviously making an exception with Downton then) and is planning on sending the money to charity when he gets it. Mary is gobsmacked that he would let her family be ruined when he could help and tells him she can no longer marry him as it was very clear that he was not on her side.
Will they or won’t they get married? With their best hope of sorting out their issues lying in the hands of the best man, at the eleventh hour, this cliff hanger will have you on the edge of your seats, screaming at the TV, in a way that only Downton can make you.
We really hope you enjoy the premier tonight, and would love to hear all your thoughts and comments about it below.
Watch the trailer for a sneak peak at what to expect in series three in the clip below:
The third series of Downton Abbey premieres tonight at 9pm on ITV1/ITV1 HD.