04/11/2011 09:33 GMT | Updated 04/01/2012 10:12 GMT

Whoops! ITV Bungle Reveals Downton Death To Millions Ahead Of Finale

Downton Abbey's third series was revealed to great fanfare yesterday by ITV, who unwittingly gave away one of their biggest secret plotlines in the process.

The current series finishes this Sunday, gearing up for a gripping finale as Spanish flu sweeps through the household, and viewers wait to see which of their favourite characters will survive to appear in Series Three.

But yesterday, ITV gave the game away by revealing their new cast list, with a gaping omission of one of the lead characters.

Fret not, the Dowager Duchess Lady Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith, has proved to have, as we might have guessed, the constitution of an ox. The preview of the next episode shows her standing by a graveside.

Cora, the Countess of Grantham, Lavinia Swire, Matthew's fiancee, and Carson the ever-loyal butler, were all seen falling ill in last Sunday's episode.

Spanish flu killed 50 million people from 1919 to 1920.

Click through our Slideshow of all your favourite Downton Abbey characters...

Downton Abbey series 2