For those of you who simply cannot wait until Christmas for another visit with your favorite Downton characters, I’m here to offer you a sneak peak. You have Anglotopia’s permission to act completely surprised when you finally watch it, despite peeking beforehand – we won’t tell anyone.
(Note: if you haven’t yet found a way to watch the third season or dislike any kind of spoilers, you might not want to read ahead.)
Set to air on Christmas Day in the UK on ITV1, the two-hour special follows the show’s traditional format of interweaving storylines from both the Crawley family and their downstairs staff. The special centers around a holiday taken by the Crawley family in Scotland while some of the help stays behind. Nine months have passed in the lives of the characters since the season finale and some changes are afoot.
A new housemaid named Edna has joined the staff (played by MyAnna Buring, who has appeared in Miss Marple and the Twilight films) and sets her sights a bit too high for her social standing. Romance may also be in the air for everyone’s favorite cook – the hospitable Mrs. Patmore. The drama unfolds for them and others like Carson, Thomas, Jimmy, and footman Alfred amidst a country fair that comes to town.
Meanwhile, the Crawley crew visit Duneagle Castle in Scotland with Mr. Bates, Anna, O’brien, and Molesley in tow. Edith’s misfortune of being the sibling notoriously unlucky in love was a focus during this past season; that’s something that will arise again when her married love interest turns up while she’s on holiday with her family. There will also be plenty of tension between the Crawleys’ hosts – Shrimpie Flintshire, who is the nephew of Dowager Countess Violet, and his wife. His daughter, Lady Rose, will be remembered by viewers as the wild visitor that was too thoroughly modern in dress and actions for the Dowager Countess’s liking. Expect to catch up with her and the incidence of a manly hunting excursion in the Scottish Highlands.
Those afflicted with ‘Downton withdrawal’ will get their fix with this two-hour special, making the wait for season four perhaps a bit more bearable.
Season three makes its American debut on PBS on Sunday, January 6th.