Downton Abbey Series 4: Cast pictured looking forlorn filming Matthew Crawley’s (Dan Stevens) funeral

As filming for the fourth series of the hugely and globally popular ITV period drama, Downton Abbey, begins the Sun newspaper has printed pictures of the cast filming the funeral of Matthew Crawley.

Fans of the hit show will know how, during last year’s Christmas special, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) was killed in a road accident moments after meeting his first born son and heir for the very first time.

The death, coupled with that of Lady Sybil’s (Jessica Brown-Findlay) during series three, sent shock waves across the globe, with many saying that the show would not be able to recover, especially as the situations surrounding both deaths were more than a little similar, causing a lot of disappointment from fans.

Unfortunately, the death of Matthew Crawley could not have been avoided as, after Dan Stevens revealed his decision to quit the show, producers found their hands tied as Matthew, being the heir of the estate, simply could not up and leave any other way, so his character was killed off during the Christmas special which had been filmed at the end of series three meaning that Dan could still be in it without signing the new contract for series four.

Which means that the first episode of the new series will see us saying goodbye to the much-loved character, and from the looks of the pictures in today’s Sun newspaper including one showing the late heir’s headstone and grave, unlike Sybil’s off-screen funeral, we will be invited to this one.

The pictures show Matthews mother, Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) looking rather sullen as she walks through the town on route to the funeral with Dr Clarkson (David Robb) as well as Mr Bates (Brendan Coyle) and The Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith) both dressed in black.

We suggest you start stocking up on tissues now as, from the looks on their faces, the start of series four is set to be even more emotional than the start of series three when Matthew and Mary got married, which still makes us cry now!

Watch an interview with Dan Stevens who played Matthew Crawley in the clip below: