THE big house is in pitch black gloomy darkness.
Aside from one solitary light in a top floor window.
Downton Abbey series four, episode one.
It is 1922 and six months on from the death of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens).
His baby son George is crying in the nursery.
Somewhere else in the house Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) lies awake in bed.
Night turns to day and an early morning mist cloaks the trees on the Downton estate.
As a specially composed variation of Downton Abbey’s opening titles music heralds the new 2013 series.
Or the 2014 season – from January 5 – if you’re watching in America.
“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.
He’s not writing about us again, is he?
“I’m looking forward to all sorts of things,” exclaims Matthew Crawley.
He’s talking to his wife-to-be Lady Mary in the first episode of Downton Abbey series three.
I’m guessing you’re also looking forward to all sorts of Downton fun in the coming weeks.
So you will find only the mildest of spoilers below.
Will Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) wedding go ahead without a hitch?
Or will there be last minute complications?
Can Downton be saved in the face of a financial crisis?
And how long before Mr Bates (Brendan Coyle) hits his cell mate?
I saw the 90 minute opening episode and highlights from the rest of the series at the London press launch way back in July.
The verdict of the massed ranks of Her Majesty’s Press?
Julian Fellowes’ Downton is very much back on top form.
I know Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and co have their critics.
But, frankly, I could watch Mr Carson (Jim Carter) saying, “That treacle tart just hit the spot,” all night long.
Dan Stevens as Matthew and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary.
STRICTLY Come Downton is set to waltz off with the Christmas Day TV ratings glitterball.
Downton Abbey stars will be tripping the light fantastic in their feature length ITV1 special which includes upstairs dancing with downstairs at the New Year servants’ ball.
ITV has released the first photo from the much anticipated feature length Downton Abbey Christmas Special.
(Click on the image to enlarge)
L-R: NIGEL HAVERS as Lord Hepworth, SAMANTHA BOND as Lady Rosamund Painswick, HUGH BONNEVILLE as Robert, IAIN GLEN Sir Richard Carlisle, MICHELLE DOCKERY as Lady Mary Crawley and DAN STEVENS as Matthew Crawley.
The special, which takes us into the New Year of 1920, has yet to be scheduled although there is speculation it will broadcast on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
"It would appear to be the sound of series three, m'lady."
WHO lives? Who dies? And who gets married?
Those questions are answered in the final episode of Downton Abbey series two on ITV1 at 9pm this Sunday.
With ITV having confirmed a few minutes ago that series three has, indeed, been commissioned.
As if there was any doubt.
It will again consist of eight episodes covering a period of 18 months in 1920 and 1921.
You can read the full press release at the bottom of this blog.
Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley
THE world of Downton Abbey has expanded for its second series, set against the backdrop of The Great War.
There are more characters, storylines and locations than last year.
Including those 1916 scenes at The Somme.
With plenty of shocks and surprises to come.