November 26, 2014

Downton Abbey Christmas Episode: Sneak Peek!


Downton Abbey Christmas special: details revealed

NOVEMBER 25, 2014
Details of the Downton Abbey Christmas special have been released and the full cast are set to return for a two-hour feature. The festive episode takes place in the early autumn of 1924, when grouse shooting season is in full swing.

Lady Rose's father-in-law Lord Sinderby has rented out Brancaster Castle in Northumberland and invited the Crawley family to a shooting party.

While good sport is enjoyed, Stowell, the Sinderbys' butler, has an axe to grind and threatens to undermine the merry holiday with a scandalous secret. Surprises are in store as the families become better acquainted with each other and some new faces arrive on the scene.

The Downton Christmas special will see the cast enjoy a shooting party in Northumberland

New characters set to make their debut include the much talked about Princess Irina, wife of Prince Kuragin, who is played by BAFTA Award nominee Jane Lapotaire. Also joining the cast is Alun Armstrong from New Tricks, Braveheart and Sleepy Hollow, who will take on the role of butler Stowell.

Meanwhile back at Downton, uncertainty surrounds Anna as she faces a future behind bars, while Bates takes drastic measures in a bid to clear her name. Baxter and Molesley are busy on a joint plan and Carson and Mrs Hughes consider a business venture.

Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, and young George decorate a Christmas tree 

The episode will air on Christmas Day on ITV, and feature returning stars Maggie SmithHugh BonnevilleMichelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Lily James among others.

James Faulkner and Penny Downie as Lord and Lady Sinderby will also return, alongside their son and Lady Rose's husband Matt Barber as Atticus Aldridge. Rade Sherbedgia will reprise his role as Prince Kuragin and Michael Fox will play footman Andy.

George Clooney is set to make a special appearance on Downton Abbey before Christmas

As previously reported, George Clooney will also be making a special appearance on the hit British period drama before Christmas. The Hollywood actor will play an American wedding guest in a special show written to raise money for charity fundraiser Text Santa.

An ITV spokesperson confirmed that George would appear in a sketch, but would not act in a full Christmas episode.

The 53-year-old heart-throb is reportedly a big fan of Downton Abbey, and is good friends with Hugh, who plays Lord Robert Crawley. The pair became close while working together onMonuments Men.

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November 09, 2014

Downton Abbey 5 - Season Finale - Episode 8

Episode 8: The residents of the Abbey both upstairs and down attend the unveiling of the town war memorial.

see bottom of page for links

The finale of the fifth season of Downton Abbey achieved a miraculous feat: it managed to turn a period drama about a society wedding into a veritable banquet of gloom. Yes, Lady Rose (Lily James) glittered prettily as she married Atticus Aldridge (Matt Barber) against the odds (disapproving parents, sabotage stunt involving a flagrant hussy and a photographer, lack of footmen – the usual). But the tenor of this episode was still more funereal than frivolous. Grey clouds loomed over the Gothic spires of the great house. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) had barely a suitor in sight to disdain, the family was drifting apart, while blameless goody-goody Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) was dragged off in handcuffs in the climax to a plot-line of nail-chewing misery.
This could all just be setting us up for a Christmas special in which joy and justice are strewn among the deserving like gifts. However, since Julian Fellowes once decided to kill off Matthew Crawley while we choked on our turkey sandwiches, it's not impossible that Anna will be led to the gallows with the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) acting as executioner in a Santa hat. Is Downton Abbey comedy, tragedy, melodrama, a satire of itself? It's increasingly hard to tell. While the first series launched back in 2010 as a tight, classic tale of romance across class lines, it has morphed into something much less coherent. There was so much going on in the last series – exiled Russian princes, socialist school teachers, estranged love children, haircuts, love, heartbreak, pet death - that a plot summary would be the size of a telephone directory.
Nevertheless, Downton is rescued from being merely a soapy, nostalgic mishmash by excellent acting and a script that still sometimes sings. Lady Mary is often bored, but never boring to watch. One of the villains of last night's episode, Lord Sinderby (James Faulkner), might have objected to his son marrying outside the Jewish faith, but he became more than just a cardboard curmudgeon when he also disapproved of “card sharks, undercooked fish and duels.” It was likewise a pleasure to watch Maggie Smith pushed beyond her usual pucker-mouthed aphorisms as the Dowager Countess dealt with an indecent proposal from her devoted Russian prince. Her voice softened, her features drooped, but she never quite lost her iron-clad composure.
The Countess's son, meanwhile, ended the series less stern patriarch than sympathetic playroom pushover, emitting not a whimper of protest as he guessed the truth about Lady Edith's (Laura Carmichael) “adopted” daughter. The Earl of Grantham's character has always been used as a proxy for the entire aristocracy, embodying at turns noble benevolence or retrograde stuffiness, and this season has taken a distinctly rosy view of the declining upper classes. Not for the Granthams to wail resentfully in a cold home with a leaking roof: the Earl has simply had to flog a painting, build some cottages and hunker down for a game of snakes and ladders with the grandchildren. A few more generations on, and he'd be hugging it out after Bikram yoga.
In the more immediate future, the Christmas special might dispel a little gloom, while a sixth series should finally settle Lady Mary's romantic fate before she has raised the eyebrow of withering scorn at all the land-owning men in England. Despite Downton's many frustrations, I'm still glad that the dinner gong will sound once again next autumn, rather than the death knell on ITV's well-dressed, world-conquering spawn.

November 02, 2014

Downton Abbey 5 - episode 7

watch HERE or HERE or HERE 

Edith found her way back, 

but the dog’s on the way out

Downton Abbey: Edith's back, but there's a shock death
Well we all knew it was coming after noises were made about the state of the dog’s health last week. In episode seven of series five it was confirmed that Lord Robert’s faithful dog Isis was dying from cancer and wouldn’t last much longer.
The show finished with the comatose dog lying on his and Cora’s bed for her final night, with Robert describing it as ‘Two people who love her and each other very much by her side’, which while sad does mark the thawing of relations between the pair. Every cloud huh?
What else happened in the house?
Aunt Rosamund and The Countess met up for crisis talks about the disappearance of Edith and had to confess to her mother Cora that Marigold was her granddaughter. Quite rightly Cora was distraught and the relationship between her and her old mother-in-law is now even more strained.
But the disappearance of Edith didn’t last long because she was easily tracked down at the publishing company offices.

Downton Abbey season 5, episode 7
I’m back! (Picture: ITV1)

Rosamund, Cora and Edith hatched a plan to adopt Marigold into the Downton nursery with the story that the Drew family couldn’t keep her any longer. And soon enough the missing sister was back at the Abbey with her daughter. So that bombshell departure was easily sorted.
Quite keen that the disappearance of her sister shouldn’t upset her plans Mary was rather dismissive – ‘Edith’s gone away, so what’ – and kept up with her larking about with Charles, Tony and Mabel who were staying at the house.
Also staying over was Lady Rose’s new love interest Atticus Aldridge and his family. She is so into her new beau she told Robert she wanted to ‘rush in like billy-o’ but he of course put a dampener on things reminding her of the difference between her and their Jewish family.
But the dashing chap secretly proposed and was accepted. Is another Abbey wedding on the cards soon?

Downton Abbey season 5, episode 7
Rose find love at last (Picture: ITV1)

Charles kept up his campaign to fix up Tony Gillingham with Miss Mabel and staged a daring scenario in which he and Mary were caught kissing, the noble Lord finally took the hint and wished her well as he walked off with his former and now new partner.
Mary confessed she felt ‘quite sad in a way’ but everyone in the foursome was probably relieved. But as Charles left for Europe it does mean that Mary is quite alone and without a current love interest.
Isobel announced at dinner that her and Lord Merton were to wed, but the happy toast to ‘the future Lady Merton’ kind of stuck in her friend Violet’s throat.

Downton Abbey season 5, episode 7
So happy for you… not (Picture: ITV1)

Mary told her Granny she had to ‘be bigger than that’ if she was jealous of Isobel becoming a ‘leader of the county’. However it seems the problem the Countess has with the marriage is not envy as she confessed ‘I’ve got used to having a companion, a friend’, highlighting the loneliness of the elderly woman living apart from her family.
I’m sure Mrs Crawley won’t ignore her friend once she becomes Lady Merton.
Dispatches from downstairs – the servant’s digest:
Daisy came over all political lamenting the state of the first Labour government and Molesley continued his campaign to take over her teaching.
She, Molesley and Baxter took a trip to visit Mr Mason (her father-in-law) in the country which of course gave the maid and footman chance to get even closer.

Downton Abbey season 5, episode 7
Daisy – not happy with the government (Picture: ITV1)

Baxter tried to make amends to Anna and Bates after being called up to give evidence to the police about the death of Green and Barrow has been dropping little hints and suggestions to everyone about how to make their lives easier. Hmmmm. Is change afoot below stairs?
Anna saw Marigold arrive at the station with Edith and Cora and of course (after having already found the photo of a child in Edith’s burnt bedroom) wanted to discuss the situation with Mrs Hughes who reminded her that ‘The child is safe and the child is loved and that’s all we need to be sure of’. I love Mrs Hughes, you could trust her with anything!
Most shocking revelation – the weekly gasp:
Lord Merton’s sons arrived to be introduced to their new soon to be step-mother. These two are rather unlikeable chaps, Larry having previously fallen out with Tom Branson over his love of Sybil (who Larry quite hoped to wed himself).
He voiced some rather objectionable opinions over dinner about Edith’s new’s adopted ‘orphan’ but then turned on Isobel suggesting that the ‘wide disparity in class might be your undoing’ and saying that the marriage to his father would be an ‘inevitable failure’.

Downton Abbey season 5, episode 7
Branson – what a guy (Picture: ITV1)

Everyone was rather shocked and Robert stood up for Isobel but it was Tom Branson who really shut up the unpleasant guest by calling Larry a ‘bastard’. Shock! Horror!
There’s nothing like a bit of foul language to enliven a dinner at Downton. Violet suggested he had stumbled across a ‘foreign tongue’ and it caused much scandal below stairs, chiefly because Mrs Hughes didn’t want that kind of language spoken in front of the maids. Quite.
Violet Crawley speaks – the best quotes from the Countess:
On whether or not Lord Grantham had a right to know about Edith’s baby: ‘He’s a man, men don’t have rights.’
To a dismissive Mary – ‘A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears’

As her snooty butler tried to hand her notice in – ‘Typical Spratt, as touchy as a beauty losing her looks’