Pictures have emerged from this year’s Downton Abbey Christmas Day Special – and guess what, it’s not set at Christmas again!
For the first two series of the award-winning ITV period drama, we were treated on December 25th to a glimpse of a Crawley Christmas, with their huge trees decorated from top to toe and dinners and parties being prepared left right and centre – AND WE LOVED IT!
But then last December as we all sat down hoping for the last part of the most magical day of the year to be made even more special by watching the likes of Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville & Elizabeth McGovern) toasting the occasion with friends, family and servants alike – we were shocked to see a summers day and not the slightest trace of tinsel anywhere!
What’s more, unlike the year before where we all applauded uncontrollably as our two favourites Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) finally got together in the twilight snow of Christmas, instead we were all horrified to see Matthew killed off in a tragic car accident, moments after meeting his first born son and heir.
Show writers insist that their hands were tied with regards to Matthew’s exit given the era and his place in the family when Dan Stevens, the actor who played him, made the decision not to renew his contract for the fourth series.
However, that was little consolation for fans who had only just got their heads around the sudden death of his sister in law Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) in similar circumstances a few months previously.
Luckily, however, from the looks on the faces from pictures that have been published in the Huffington Post, this Christmas (albeit not actually at Christmas) the cast can be seen with smiles on their faces (so unless it is Thomas Barrows who has been killed, no one is leaving in a wooden box this festive season).
And, to make it even more exciting, there are two very familiar and much-anticipated faces amongst the picnicking crowd!
The series 4 finale will feature the return of Cora’s mother, Martha Levinson played by US actress Shirley MacLaine, along with her brother Harold who is being played by Saving Private Ryan star Paul Giamatti!
Discussing Giamtti’s casting, Carnival Films Managing Director Gareth Neame has previously stated:
“We’re excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on ‘Downton’ to play Cora’s brother Harold, the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith. We can’t wait to see him work alongside Shirley MacLaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham’s apple cart in this year’s finale.”
Filming for the fourth series of Downton Abbey began in February and is due to air this autumn on ITV.