Christmas at Downton set for Abbey ending

PASSION: Will couple finally get together in red-hot romance?

Richard Alleyne

THEY are clearly made for each other even if circumstances constantly conspire to keep them apart.

But the death last night of Matthew Crawley's fiancee in Downton Abbey has finally paved the way for him to get together with Lady Mary.

The simmering "will they, won't they" romance could even boil over during the next episode -- a Christmas Day special.

Julian Fellowes, the writer of the award-winning show, remained tight-lipped about any developments as did broadcaster ITV.

But one source said: "Everybody wants them to be together so it would be very odd if their love affair was not picked up again."


Viewers in their millions tuned into the final episode of the second series in which the residents at the stately home, having weathered the horrors of the First World War, were struck down by the Spanish flu epidemic.

Among those to succumb to the illness was Lavinia Swire, Mr Crawley's betrothed who before she dies witnesses her fiancee and Lady Mary steal a kiss.

On her deathbed, she tells Mr Crawley, played by Dan Stevens, that he should get together with his real love, played by Michelle Dockery.

The development perfectly tees-up the drama up for an explosive Christmas special -- and third series.

Audience figures for the second series increased by more than 21pc on the first series with an average 11.5 million viewers watching each episode -- making it the most popular drama series on UK television for a decade.

But it has been dogged by criticism of over-complicated plots that stretch the boundaries of belief to breaking point.

Fellowes said he had been stung by the criticism but was pleased the period drama series had been more popular than ever.

"This has been quite a traumatic time for the Crawley family just as it was for Europe during that Great War and the Spanish flu epidemic," he said.

"What I hope is that there are now more people out there who are aware of what our grandparents and great grandparents had to go through."

He said the new series would start in the aftermath of the war but soon move into the roaring twenties.