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“IF I could stop history in its tracks maybe I would.

“But I can’t, Carson.

“Nor you nor I can hold back time.”

Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) in the opening episode of the sixth and final series of Downton Abbey, which begins early in 1925.

Setting the scene for what is to come.

I attended the London premiere of Downton Abbey 6.1 yesterday.

Followed by two press conferences and then the usual afternoon of embargoed round table interviews with the cast.

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“I’LL be dandy…”

It’s farewell to footman Jimmy (Ed Speleers) in this Sunday’s second episode of Downton Abbey series five (ITV, 9pm).

And hello to Richard E. Grant as art expert Simon Bricker.

I’ve now seen the first four episodes of the new series with plenty for Downton fans to look forward to in the weeks ahead.

Including Lady Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) trip to Liverpool, the latest developments involving the late Mr Green and a surprising turn of events for Violet (Maggie Smith).

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THE opening titles and theme music remain reassuringly unchanged.

Unlike the world around Downton Abbey.

It’s 1924 with a Labour government in Britain for the first time in history.

Lord Granthan (Hugh Bonneville) is convinced this threatens the Downton way of life as never before with that modern world continuing to encroach on the family.

I attended the London launch today of Downton Abbey series five – eight episodes plus a Christmas special, all written by Julian Fellowes.

Due on screen in the UK next month and in the USA in January.

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“LIFE is strange, isn’t it?”

Downton Abbey series three, episode nine.

Otherwise known as the 2012 Christmas Special, just broadcast by ITV1 tonight – December 25 – in the UK.

If you have yet to watch it, do NOT read any further.

Come back later once you have viewed.

That obviously also goes for our American cousins waiting for series three to begin on PBS on Jan 6.

As well as other Downton fans across the globe who are not yet up to the UK series pace.

There are major spoilers below.

So unless you want to read them, stop now.