What happened in 'Downton Abbey's final episode to Series 4?

Let's see.

Well, Lady Mary didn't accept any of her THREE suitors' fair attentions, despite Julian Fellowes carefully setting us for a Pride and Prejudice/Beatrix and Benedict-type crusty courtship between her and that pig-expert, with a dose of Calamity Jane thrown in for good measure last week, even down to the inevitable mud-slip in the barn.

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Alone again, naturally

Lady Edith didn't discover what had happened to her married lover, and nor did she decide what to do with her unborn child, save for avoiding AT ALL COSTS it being brought up in Switzerland. I mean, just imagine.

The Dowager didn't succumb to bronchitis, thank the mercies, Lady Rose didn't marry Jack, and Alfred didn't marry Ivy.

And Mr Bates didn't murder anyone - apparently. Despite disappearing to York on meaningless errands just at the exact time the dastardly Mr Green, he who'd raped Mr Bates' poor wife and generally curled his lip in all the wrong places, managed to slip off a London kerb. And under a taxi cab. Or a bus. Or something. Obviously, Mr Bates is innocent of this crime, otherwise Lord Fellowes would have given us the pleasure of watching it happen.

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The Dowager (Dame Maggie Smith) - fit and feisty - phews all round

'Downton Abbey' has traditionally served up a cracker of an ending for each of its previous series, but the only way we even knew this was a finale was because there was a high-octane village bazaar to organise, so that all the dramatis personae could be seen in one place.

Instead, call me jaded, it's almost like the jovial Lord knew he was going to go and get all recommissioned to write a fifth series, which has now been confirmed by ITV bosses.

As well he might, with an average of 11.8 million viewers for each episode securing its spot as the highest-rating TV drama of the year.

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Oh, Mr Bates, what have you done (or not)?

But it means all those questions we hoped would be answered in this week's send-off will have to wait until next year. As well as others, such as when WILL Mr Carter and Mrs Hughes finish this 'Remains of the Day-esque' restraint and fall into each other's arms, and who is going to whisk Mr Barrow off his foxy feet?

In the meantime, there's also a two-hour festive special coming our way on Christmas Day. As well as all the regulars, Shirley MacLaine will be reprising her role of Cora's mother Martha, and Paul Giamatti will join in as Cora's playboy brother, Harold.

And viewers, whose last Yuletide was ruined by the death of one of Downton's most popular characters, Matthew Crawley, on the way home from visiting his newborn son, will be hoping for a slightly less eventful feature-length episode this year.

Although, hopefully more eventful than this series' send-off.

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  • Downton Abbey Series 4 Final Episode

  • Downton Abbey Series 4 Final Episode