If you felt a tremor in the force when you woke up this morning, there's a reason for that. Downton Abbey goes into production today. Yesssssss. But wait – a Cousin Matthew-less season four? Clutch the walls and breathe through your tears. What can they possibly have in store for us?
Lady Mary – one minute you're sitting in perfectly pressed white linen, beaming at the angelic face of your newborn son, as your husband eulogizes on how he loves you MORE than the last time he said he couldn't love you more. The next, he's dead in a ditch thanks to a run in with a contract, I mean, tractor and you are left as the second single parent currently residing at Downton. Now you'll have to call the baby Matthew, even though you'd have preferred Astala or Cyrus and watch helplessly as he and his cousin Syby grow up all weird and with complexes because they are named after dead people. The good news is, there is now scope for a whole new round of lovers ie handsome actors for us – er, you - to fancy. Swings and roundabouts.
Edith – two words: 'narrow escape'. As we have now established that marriage and babies in Downton guarantees one of you dying, the hope is that Edith will keep her head screwed on and sensibly start shagging her husband-of-a-lunatic boss who can't marry her anyway. Shame on the family is better than another funeral.
Lord and Lady Grantham – will Lady G blame Lord G for Matthew's death? 'Raaahburt, why did you, like, let tractors on that road?' Also Matthew's fortune will surely have gone to the baby – which means Lord G will have to ask his own grandson for an allowance to keep running the estate. Awkward.
Lady Rose – providing much needed respite from all the grieving, Rose will swiftly have to start bonking someone unsuitable. Jimmy? Branson? As long as it's not Carson.
Branson – like Eliza Doolittle, what is to become of him? He's not a posho, he's not a servant. He belongs NOWHERE. Perhaps if he at least learns to bowl a decent googly, we can all stop clenching.
Thomas – a return to evil after all the 'help-a-homophobe' jazz with Jimmy? Please, J-Fell? I miss the conspiracy days with O'Brien.
The Dowager: she signed the damn contract. The globe exhales. Thank GOD for that. Now all we have to do is sit back and wait for the exquisite one-liners.
By: Clare Bennett