Downton Abbey – Series 4

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Episode 1 – Following Matthew’s shocking death, new mother Mary is struggling to come to terms with her loss, and Robert and Violet disagree over how to handle the situation. Downstairs, Jimmy finally takes an interest in Ivy, while Carson receives an unwelcome reminder of his past. Mrs Hughes sees a chance to help grief-stricken Isobel, and Thomas has the children’s nanny in his sights.

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Episode 2 – Mary begins to emerge from her grief, and takes an interest in the running of the estate. However, her ambitions meet firm resistance from her father. Lady Rose MacClare, Lady Flintshire’s daughter, finds herself in a predicament at a tea dance in York, while Mrs Hughes urges Carson to heal an old wound. Bates comes up with a plan to help Molesley, but will it work?

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Episode 3 – An extravagant party at the Abbey gives the Crawleys an opportunity to reunite with old friends. Some guests, however, prove more welcome than others, and alongside the celebrations come skulduggery and heartache.

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Episode 4 – In the aftermath of the Abbey’s eventful party, Mary is forced to answer a pressing question about her future, while Carson reveals surprisingly intimate details about his former life. Rose’s trip to the bright lights of London sees her risking the Crawleys’ reputation, and Gregson shares ambitious plans with Edith, taking their relationship to another level.

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Episode 5 – Change is in the air at the Abbey as an exciting opportunity for Alfred creates tension between Ivy and Daisy. Isobel appeals to Violet’s sense of charity, but it doesn’t come without a fight, while Branson considers a new future for himself and baby Sybbie.

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Episode 6 – Plans for Robert’s birthday party are under way, but Rose’s surprise contribution to the event ruffles feathers above and below stairs. Mary faces dramatic repercussions when a new farming venture is launched on the Downton estate, while Edith receives more unwelcome news.

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Episode 7 – Cora’s playboy brother Harold has got himself into a spot of bother and Robert has to make a trip to America to bail him out. Blake and Mary are forced to put aside their differences to deal with the new farming venture on the estate, and help comes from an unlikely quarter when Violet is taken ill. Meanwhile, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Patmore and Carson try to keep the peace when romantic tensions cause disagreements downstairs.

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Episode 8 – Rosamund comes up with a plan to help Edith out of her predicament, but will Violet see straight through it? Rose is frustrated when things don’t go her way and Alfred realises too late he may have made a mistake. Anna is concerned by unexpected news just as she and Bates seem to be getting over the worst, Isobel finds herself the object of someone’s attention and Mary asks Gillingham for a favour.

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Costume drama, starring Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Maggie Smith, Lily James, Samantha Bond, Penelope Wilton, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Kevin Doyle, Tom Cullen, Gary Carr, Julian Ovenden and Nigel Harman.

I don’t want to give spoilers to those who haven’t seen it yet. I’ll just say it’s a great series this year and I’m looking forward to watching the Christmas special.

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