Downton Abbey series four: what's going to happen next?

When will O'Brien get her comeuppance? What will become of Thomas? Will Mary and Matthew have a baby? We predict what another series might have in store...

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Downton Abbey series four: what's going to happen next?
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So, that's it. Series three of Downton Abbey has come to an end. And what a series it was...

We had Mary and Matthew's wedding, Mrs Hughes' cancer scare, Downton's money woes and a fleeting visit from Cora's mother. As the Crawley's plotted to save their ancestral pile, Edith almost got hitched before being jilted at the altar by Anthony Strallen- thankfully, Matthew then stepped in to save the Abbey with Lavinia's inheritance. Next came the devastating blow of Sybil's shocking and untimely death during childbirth. In the aftermath, while Cora and Robert's relationship looked irrepairable, Bates was released from prison. Meanwhile, Isobel hired ex-prostitute Ethel as a cook, Mary and Matthew worried about their own future family and Robert came to blows with Tom over baby Sybil's christening. Then Matthew and Robert fell out over how the Downton estate was managed, Edith became a journalist and Thomas stole a kiss from Jimmy. Phew... 

Tonight's final episode tied up plenty of loose ends: Ethel is off to pastures new, Thomas looks safe (for now) and Mary is certain she'll have a baby on the way in no time. Branson has agreed to stay living at Downton, Edith is a fully fledged journalist and, with Matthew at the helm, the Downton estate is striding fearlessly into the future.

Now we've got a big Downton-shaped hole in our Sunday nights. And while there is no official word on a fourth series, we have to hope that Julian Fellowes will be kind enough to give us another series of our favourite period drama fix. 

But what would happen to our beloved characters in series four? We couldn't resist making a few predictions...

What's in store for Downton's lovebirds Mary and Matthew? With whatever unnamed and mysterious condition she had out of the way, we predict that Mary will be popping out babies in no time. And our guess is that it won't just be one bun in the oven for our aristocratic couple. Twins plus baby Sybil would make a neat new generation of Crawley siblings, wouldn't they? 

But will Mary be a natural mum? Her genteel and sometime frosty manner might not be warmed by the arrival of two wailing babies. Motherhood could come as a bit of a struggle for her, especially if it means losing her willowy figure and getting dribble on her lovely hats. Gone are the days of whispered proclamations and smooching in bed, it’s all baby sick and sexual frustration for Mary and Matthew in series four.

robert crawley

Now Matthew, Robert and Tom are the very best of chums, we think series four will see them embracing the new and embarking on excitingly innovative farming techniques. Yes, it’s risky but the farming dream team could soon be at the forefront of British agriculture. With Matthew's business brain, Branson's practical experience and Robert's sense of social responsibility, they'll be setting the harvesting trends in no time.

Impatient Matthew - so pleased that his controversial gamble has paid off - might soon be drafting in new machinery and exotic crops. But will there be a backlash against their modern approach? Might their employees be up in arms as they are replaced by strange modern contraptions? The trio could have a rural revolution on their hands...

Bates

Out from behind bars, Bates is set to become the Robin Hood of Downton - using his brooding expression, threatening height and new street-wise demeanour to right wrongs and make sure Downton always has the moral high ground.

But remember that incident with the throat slitting in prison? We know he’s capable of losing his temper so how far will the do-gooder go to ensure right wins out over wrong? Might he even end up back inside? 

Series three was all about Mrs O’Brien’s attempts to undo Thomas - and what a drama she managed to create. Now Thomas has been saved from public humiliation (and an arrest) series four will likely be about Thomas’s revenge. The sly ex-valet is unlikely to let recent events go by without a retaliation...

The key to O'Brien's downfall could well be "her lady's soap"... It's a terrible secret and one that Thomas could easily use against her to create a sudsy mess. Maybe he'll bulk buy soap and start leaving it all over the house for people to slip up on on. It wouldn't take long before people started pointing the finger, and Mrs O’Brien would be powerless to stop them. 

Downton

Remember that man who nobody could find in series 3? The one who, if he were alive, would inherit the Swire fortune over Matthew? Now that all Downton's finances are settled, what's the likelihood that he'll turn up out of the blue in series four demanding his money...

What would the Downton gang do? They couldn't possibly face the idea of losing Downton now. Not with little Sybil and all Mary and Matthew’s babies to look after. Perhaps some underhand dealings would be in order to rid the Crawleys of this inconvenience. Maybe Violet and Bates could team up? We think they'd get on like a house on fire if the appropriate situation ever arose... 

Lady Edith

Series three was tough for poor Edith, what with being abandoned at the altar and all. But now, commuting between London and Downton, she's something of a successful career woman. And with her dreamy new editor clearly stating that he enjoys her company, it's surely only a matter of time before the youngest Crawley sister embarks on an illicit affair.

She'd be wise not to forget the wife in the asylum though. She wouldn't want to find herself being the Jane Eyre in a mad woman in the attic kind of situation... 

Mr Carson

Perhaps romance could be on the cards for Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson too? The downstairs duo have confided in each other for so many years, it’s a mystery why those late night chats have never turned into something more...

Nothing below stairs remains a secret for long though - soon enough Mrs Patmore would catch Carson in a compromising position, undermining his place as the moral compass of Downton and making him the laughing stock of the staff...

Daisy

After a series of being snubbed by the young men in her life, it's time Daisy stood up for herself.

Fed up of being overlooked, perhaps Daisy will leave the Downton kitchens and set up home on William’s father’s farm where she'll transform into a plumped up, rosy-cheeked kinda gal. Maybe she'll follow the farmer's advice and open her own shop in the village selling jam, cakes and farm-y produce too. She'd be Downton's first female entrepreneur. Jimmy and Alfred would be falling at her feet in no time, but confident and successful Daisy would have set her sights higher than mere footmen...


What do you think a fourth series of Downton Abbey might have in store?