1. It’s not Christmas for the Crawleys
So don’t expect a table wobbling under the weight of Mrs Patmore’s Christmas dinner. There will be no elaborate Christmas trees, carols around the Christmas tree or proposals in the snow. Boo!
The episode won’t be set amongst the autumn leaves or in the first flushes of spring either… it’ll be high summer. There will be sunny picnics. The gang will even visit the beach. The beach. On December 25. While we are all chilly, bloated from too much turkey and trying to stop humming Jingle Bells. All I can say is you’d better not go killing anyone off, Fellowes.
2. On that note, nobody is going to die.
Apparently. Downton's executive producer Liz Trubridge has said "Nobody dies" so you can eat those Quality Street safe in the knowledge that your stomach isn't going to be turned by any car crashes, dangerous births or ruthless murders.
Then again. If someone was going to pop their clogs, would the Downton Abbey team ruin the surprise and tell us? We'd keep the tissues handy just in case...
3. The episode is set at the Crawley’s London residence
Since when have the Crawley’s even had a London residence? I want to know why we’ve never seen it before. And why no one ever stays there? The Crawley’s are always down in London irritating Aunt Rosamund, bossing her servants around and creeping back into her house in the early hours. Why would they do that then they could just be at their own house? Strange…
Being in London also means Anna and Bates will be forced to confront Green’s demise on the streets of the city. At the scene of the crime might Anna strive to find out if Bates really did push Green under a bus?
4. Six months have passed since the church bazaar
A lot can happen in six months. If my powers of addition are correct, it means Edith’s baby has probably been born. Either that or she's about to pop. We know the middle Crawley sister is set to face a "moral dilemma" in the Christmas issue. Could it be that she's regretting her decision to give Gregson's illegitimate sprogg away to a Swiss couple? Or might Gregson have made a miraculous reappearance? The return of the dishy editor would surely toy with Edith's conscience...
Other things that might have happened include: Branson making his move on with Sarah Bunting, Mrs Patmore getting a refrigerator and Mary finding her stride with those darned pigs. Their muddy little trotters are probably very well established nowadays, so no more late-night mud wrestling for us. Pitty.
5. The Crawleys are going to make royal connections
Now the Granthams are obviously frightfully posh and fancy, what with their aristocratic blood and old country pile and stuff, but I bet even Violet would get a little nervous when face-to-face with the British Monarchy...
The Christmas episode will see the Crawleys do just that when the clan head in from the sticks and present Rose to the Royal Highnesses as part of her 'coming out' season in London. Fingers crossed they remember to curtsey.
6. Scandal is the order of the day
Naturally. But what will it be?
Rose will be back in London, her mischief-hunting ground, so she's bound to cause some trouble. Might she reignite her romance with dishy Jack Ross? Or find herself a new jazz singer/married man/pole dancer/pimp/street performer to canoodle with?
Perhaps she’ll hit it off with someone from the royal household. Or even better the King himself? It does say that the juicy scandal will “threaten to engulf the monarchy”…
7. The Americans are in town
Martha Levinson is back, to wind up poor ol' Violet Crawley and irritate Robert no doubt. And she's bringing Cora's playboy brother with her. You know, the one who likes yachts and got all caught up in the Teapot Dome scandal last series. He sounds like a whole lot of trouble, if you ask me. Which of course, will make for some fun viewing on Christmas Day.
8. Love is in the air
There won't be any smooching under the mistletoe... but that doesn't mean the Christmas special will de devoid of romance. Oh no.
Lady Mary's suitors are all still hanging around like moths at a lightbulb. Lord Gillingham and Charles Blake will be in attendance, vying for Mary's attentions. And in a surprise twist it seems Isobel is set to have a love interest - looks like the dashing widower from series three might be back to win her over with his charms.
Even unlucky-in-love Daisy gets an "unexpected invitation". Maybe the offer of a date? It's time the poor lass's love life changed for the better.
Downton Abbey Christmas special is on Christmas Day at 8:30pm on ITV.