Sunday, September 4, 2011

Countdown to Downton

The second series of Downton Abbey is nearly upon us! Although the good people at Downton are keeping fairly schtum about what's to come, I have managed to gleam fourteen facts about the return of the Crawleys and company so as to whet the insatiable appetites of my fellow Downton die-hards. The war can't come soon enough, frankly! The wait will be over when the period drama de jour returns to British television on the 18th of August:

1. The second series begins in 1916, two years after the end of the first. The Great War is in full swing and Matthew Crawley and Thomas are away fighting for king and country.

2. Secretarial wannabe Gwen has left her position at Downton Abbey for pastures and typewriters new.

3. Having parted ways at the end of the first series, Lady Mary and Matthew are now stepping out with powerful newspaper proprietor Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen) and middle-class daughter of a London solicitor Miss Lavinia Swire (Zoe Boyle) respectively.

4. At the request of Mrs Crawley, the abbey is being used as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers. This development leads to friction between Mrs Crawley and Lady Crawley.

5. One of the convalescing soldiers becomes romantically involved with one of the Crawley sisters.

6. Robert's sister Lady Rosamund returns to Downton and is as determined as ever to interfere in the lives of her nieces.

7. Lady Sybil's inevitable decision to train as a nurse is met with surprising support by her grandmother, the Dowager Countess.

8. The troublesome Ethel Parks arrives at the start of the second series as a new housemaid. She is played by Amy Nuttall.

9. Cal McAninch joins the cast as a valet named Lang. It has yet to be revealed whether he replaces Bates or Moseley or attends to a new character, possibly Sir Richard.

10. Silverware enthusiast Mrs Vera Bates (Maria Doyle Kennedy) arrives in Downton determined to ruin her husband's blossoming relationship with Anna.

11. Consumed with guilt after orchestrating her mistress's miscarriage in series one, O' Brien is still no ray of sunshine but has become fiercely protective of Lady Cora.

12. Mrs Hughes must come to the aid of one of the younger female members of staff when she finds herself in "a very modern kind of trouble."

13. The eight-part second series will conclude with armistice being declared in 1918.

14. The series will be followed by a Christmas special featuring period drama regulars Nigel Havers and Sharon Small.

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