THE BLOG
12/11/2013 07:52 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Do They All Need Therapy?

As the credits rolled up on my screen having watched the final episode of the fourth series of Downton Abbey (ITV, Sunday) I could not help thinking about the relationships that these various characters have created - upstairs and downstairs - and what a terrible mess most of them are in.

I have no doubt that the idea of therapy or counselling would be abhorrent to all of them, yet as far as I am concerned, most would do well lying back on a therapist's couch and talking frankly about the problems and dilemmas they face.

It is hard to tell whether in their day there were some reputable therapists in the vicinity of Downton Abbey or would they be forced to travel at much expense and inconvenience to London's Harley Street.

Or perhaps they might be able to share their innermost secrets with the Dowager Countess, who is, in my opinion, the most outspoken and frankest of the lot of them; the others would prefer to hide their feelings and emotions under the cucumber sandwiches they savour every day at tea time.

Lady Edith who finds herself pregnant suddenly is taken in by Rosamund's plan to go and learn French by living in Switzerland, having the illegitimate child there and giving it away. Here are two candidates for the therapist's couch for a start.

Another two are Bates and Anna : they are a very convincing and in-love couple, but Anna's rape by Green, Lord Gillingham's "man" has not only driven a wedge through Anna and Bates's relationship, but it has seeped through upstairs with Lady Mary becoming closely involved in arranging to have Green sacked by Lord Gillingham - but without telling him the reason.

Lady Mary, still understandably bereft after the death of her husband Matthew, finds herself surrounded by eligible men - but is too afraid of commitment. The scars that have left her a single mother and in charge of much of the Estate, doesn't seem to give her the capacity or ability to get involved in a personal and intimate relationship. A few sessions with a therapist might do her the world of good.

Yet as afraid as she is of getting close to another man, she was bold enough to intervene - she was tipped off by Branson - in the relationship between Jack Ross, the jazz singer and Lady Rose, who reacts angrily and tells Mary that she loves Jack. In any event, Rose says defiantly she won't stand for any "imperialist nonsense about racial purity." Mary responds that Rose should know her better than thinking she, Mary, is racist - who can forget she took the Turkish Kemal Pamuk to her bed?

Rose had threatened to punish her mother by becoming engaged to a black man. Sadly her nose is put out of joint when she hears that Jack Ross isn't, after all, planning to become engaged to her. What, you may wonder, lies behind the relationship between Lady Rose and her mother? This would be ample fodder for the therapist's couch no doubt.

And then there's the kitchen maid Ivy who does not accept Alfred, the footman's proposal of marriage - and for good measure, throw in the complexities of Daisy's admission that she had once loved Alfred and she hoped that they would always be friends. What sort of a love triangle is this, the therapist would want to know.

Isobel, the widow who has lost a husband and a son, seems to bear the brunt of the Dowager Countess's sharp tongue, but takes it on the chin on every occasion. But in the last episode, romance seemed to be lurking for her with the appearance of Lord Merton. He turned out to be a gentle and sensitive person, and he managed to confide in Isobel that his own marriage wasn't all that happy or successful and when he looked back on it all, he didn't have too many fond memories. Another candidate for the soft chair, no doubt?

Julian Fellowes might want to think about all this as he writes the next series, or perhaps he too prefers to brush it under the carpet.