A Moorland Holiday – Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2014

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It’s the early autumn of 1924 and Rose’s father-in-law Lord Sinderby has rented Brancaster Castle in Northumberland and invited the Crawleys to a grouse-shooting party. However, the Sinderbys’ butler Stowell has an axe to grind and a scandalous secret threatens to derail the holiday. Back at Downton, the servants hold the fort and unlikely later-life romances abound, while Bates takes drastic measures to clear Anna’s name as she faces an uncertain future behind bars…

Costume drama, starring Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lily James, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, Alun Armstrong, James Faulkner, Penny Downie, Matt Barber, Sue Johnston, Jeremy Swift, Douglas Reith, Rade Sherbedgia, Jane Lapotaire, Jonathan Coy, Sebastian Dunn, Harry Hadden-Paton, Alice Patten, Michael Fox and Hannah Wood.

*** Be careful !!! Spoilers ***

After a rather disappointing 5th series, we got at last a Christmassy episode with sparkles and warm moments that will lead to a much better series next year… Even if the Bates situation is unresolved, we hope for a happy ending, we should get a downstairs wedding after the moving Carson’s proposal to Mrs Hugues (I personally got tears in my eyes), and after the meeting of Lady Mary and the very promising Mr Talbot – played by the very handsome Matthew Goode, we can contemplate her getting at last the Mr Right she deserves.

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Downton Abbey for Text Santa

Here is at last the Downton Abbey two part sketch made for the Christmas charity ‘Text Santa’ featuring George Clooney, Joanna Lumley, Julian Fellowes and Jeremy Piven as Mr Selfridge …

As all characters completely make fun of themselves I laughed out loud all along … I’m so looking forward to watching ‘A Moorland Holiday’ next week. Season’s Greetings to everyone !

Downton Abbey – Series 5

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Episode 1 – It’s now 1924, and while Britain feels the winds of change swept in by a new Labour government, Downton’s residents – both above and below stairs – are undergoing alterations too. After mourning the death of his beloved wife Lady Sybil for four years, Branson decides it’s time he got on with his life, although Robert isn’t comfortable about the ex-chauffeur’s relationship with local teacher Sarah Bunting. Mary is also ready for love again – but which of her beaus is her Mr Right? Meanwhile, Edith struggles to cope with being parted from her baby, Jimmy receives unwanted female attention and plans for a war memorial cause tension.

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Episode 2 – After the fire in Lady Edith’s bedroom and the departure of Jimmy, the household, both upstairs and down, is still coming to terms with what has happened – and it falls on Robert’s broad shoulders to make what could be a far-reaching decision about the situation. Rose, meanwhile, seems more concerned with persuading him to buy a wireless than what is happening to those around her – but then again, she’s always been trapped in her own self-centred little world. In the kitchen, Mrs Patmore thinks she may have found a way to help Daisy cope with her studies, while Thomas’ devious ways look set to scupper Baxter’s friendship with Molesley. Finally, as Lord Merton continues to woo Isobel, Anna is reluctantly drawn into Mary’s latest scheme.

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Episode 3 – When it comes to the opposite sex, Lady Mary is a little ahead of her time. A foreign diplomat died in her bed during the first series, and following the death of her husband, she’s been involved in a love triangle. Now she’s getting up to mischief with Lord Gillingham. It’s supposed to be a secret, but her cover story is almost blown – until Violet saves the day. It seems that the battleaxe may have more reason than most to sympathise with her granddaughter’s position when a face from her past reappears, hinting at a hidden past of her own. Meanwhile, Carson is dismissive of Mrs Patmore’s latest problem, Branson receives a proposition about the estate’s future and the circumstances of nasty valet Green’s demise are scrutinised – again. 

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Episode 4 – Schoolteacher Sarah Bunting continues to wage her one-woman war against the Crawleys – before pushing them too far. Violet is too busy getting flustered about Prince Kuragin to notice, and finally confides in Isobel the truth about their shared past. Following her illicit trip to Liverpool with Lord Gillingham, Mary makes a decision about their relationship – but does it have any future? Thomas returns to Downton a shadow of his former self, and Baxter wonders if there’s more to his mystery illness than he’s letting on. Rose’s father Shrimpie is also back on the estate – with shocking news.

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Episode 5 – Art expert Simon Bricker and Lady Cora – have grown close over the past few weeks, and their flirting reaches boiling point in the latest episode. She’s enjoying the attention he gives her, but is he about to cross a line – and does she want him to? Cora’s eldest child, Mary, is also enjoying male company, this time that of Charles Blake, who’s about to do her a big favour. Meanwhile, Rose meets a dashing stranger, Branson makes up his mind about Sarah Bunting and Anna is disturbed by a visit from Inspector Vyner.

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Episode 6 – Following the altercation, relations between Robert and Cora are strained, while Blake’s scheming starts to come to fruition when Mary is unexpectedly pitted against her love rival. Edith decides to take drastic measures after receiving terrible news, leaving various parties reeling. Baxter is embroiled in the investigation into Green’s death following a mysterious tip-off, and as Thomas’s health deteriorates, he finally reveals the truth to the maid. Elsewhere, love is in the air for more than one member of the Crawley family.

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Episode 7 – Secrets could be exposed as Rosamund arrives at Downton following Edith’s shock departure. Rose is delighted to introduce Atticus and his parents to the Abbey, while Anna and Bates start thinking about a fresh start, now that the worst of their problems are seemingly behind them. Molesley is concerned to see Daisy becoming disillusioned with her studies, and Isobel makes a happy announcement, but there may be trouble on the horizon. Violet has her hands full with her warring servants, while Mary and Blake seize an opportunity to send Gillingham a strong message.

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Episode 8 – Preparations are under way for Rose’s wedding, but family tensions on both sides threaten to derail proceedings. Edith’s arrangement with Marigold is happily working out, but how long can she and Cora conceal the truth from Robert? Denker reveals an unexpected side to her personality, which causes trouble for more than one of the servants. With the war memorial due to be unveiled, Mrs Patmore is still upset, but Robert has something up his sleeve. Branson comes to a heart-wrenching decision, and the storm clouds that have been gathering over Anna and Bates finally burst.

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Costume drama, starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lily James, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Ed Speleers, Penelope Wilton, Douglas Reith, Julian Ovenden, Raquel Cassidy, Tom Cullen, Daisy Lewis, Samantha Bond, Emma Lowndes, Andrew Scarborough, Helen Sheals, Jeremy Swift, Harriet Walter, Anna Chancellor, David Robb, Richard E Grant, Christopher Rozycki, Rade Sherbedgia, Catherine Steadman, Peter Egan, Matt Barber, James Faulkner, Penny Downie, Sue Johnston, Howard Wardand and Louis Hilyer.

*** Be careful !!! Spoilers ***

I was so looking forward to watching this series to see how Lady Mary would choose between Blake and Lord Gillingham. I have to say that Julian Fellowes has some nerves to let us imagine that a Lady would do such as Mary as to live with someone a whole week to see how it goes with her future fiancé, even before any engagement ! But, well, she did show us what she was capable of doing in the first series … and it does spare her a divorce after years of boredom … so, I can only sigh and wait to see what will happen next … Regarding the Bates, another disappointment, are we to relive what happened on the third series when he was wrongly accused of having killed his wife ? Are we to see Anna’s trial for having killed Green, who attacked and raped her in last series ? She is a victim among others it seems, I’m quite sure another woman will confess at the very last minute she did it – at least, I hope so ! … And Tom Branson wants to leave the family after Christmas ! … Too many sorrows for one series … And seriously, everybody think that’s fine that Lady Edith has a child out of wedlock, as long as it’s a secret? Only Mary hasn’t guessed – yet … I’m so looking forward to watching Fellowes’s conclusion for this year. Only five weeks of waiting !

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The London Season – Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2013

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It’s summer and as part of Rose’s debutante `coming out’ she is to be presented at Buckingham Palace. The family is in London, preparing Grantham House for the busy social programme, and Martha Levinson, not one to miss such a grand occasion, arrives from New York with Cora’s recently disgraced brother Harold. Both outspoken and larger than life, they make quite an impression on certain members of high society. Meanwhile, when the Crawleys are implicated in a scandal that threatens to engulf the monarchy, Robert goes to great lengths to protect the royal family – and his own.

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(Photo copyright Harper’s Bazaar UK)

Costume drama, starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lily James, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Ed Speleers, Cara Theobold, Penelope Wilton, Shirley MacLaine, Paul Giamatti, Douglas Reith, Poppy Drayton, James Fox, Oliver Dimsdale, Janet Montgomery, Julian Ovenden, Michael Benz, Raquel Cassidy, Tom Cullen, Daisy Lewis, Samantha Bond and Patrick Kennedy.

I was waiting for some answers since the end of series 4 six weeks ago … I was at first a bit disappointed but after all it was a great episode with beautiful dresses, new characters who will reappear later I hope . I’m looking forward to watching the fifth series next year to find out who will win the race to Lady Mary’s heart – Lord Gillingham or Charles Blake .

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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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