Downton Abbey series 6 episode 1 predictions: policemen, party invites and pinot grigio

A look ahead to the first episode of series six, plus Ellie Walker-Arnott's patented guessing game


Steady yourselves, Downton Abbey fans, your Sunday nights just got good again. The Crawleys are triumphantly returning to our telly screens this weekend. And bringing with them a healthy dose of melodrama. 


If you’ve forgotten the details of the 2014 Christmas special (it’s no surprise really – you had seen away an impressive measure of eggnog) let us bring you up to speed… 

Not much time has passed since we saw them last. Carson and Hughes are still getting used to their new romantic status and Mrs Patmore could very well still be serving up turkey leftovers in Downton’s dining room. Times are changing, you see. Money is tight and not just because Robert is in change of balancing the books. 

Anna and Bates are still tangled up in a murder case (no rest for the not-so-wicked, eh?), Marigold is happily settled at the Abbey, but her true identity remains a secret for some, and Lady Mary (as ever) is on the lookout for another Mr Right. 

But what’s going to happen during Sunday’s season premiere? Let’s make some stupid, silly and spurious suggestions… 

Times really are changing. With the Crawley’s aristocratic acquaintances selling up, downsizing and being declared bankrupt, Robert and Cora’s social circle is shrinking but they’re not letting it get them down. One must keep calm and continue to throw parties, although they’ve had so few RSVPs to this soiree that they’ve had to venture below stairs and rope in Mrs Patmore to make up the numbers. There’s simply nothing worse than an empty ballroom after all. 

Lady Edith and Lady Mary are finally letting bygones be bygones. Now Branson’s scarpered to Boston, Mary’s actually had some parenting to do and it’s really taken it out of her, while Edith is having to work a 9-5 at the Magazine AND keep Marigold’s identity under wraps. Forget blackmail and bitchiness, nowadays these gals are just a couple of single mums relaxing over a glass or two of pinot grigio…

All those arrests, confessions and trips to prison have started taking their toll on Mr Bates. Life might go on at the Abbey but it all seems rather insignificant to him now. His heart isn’t in ironing Robert’s briefs or brushing his wavy grey locks. Everywhere he turns he can hear the clang of chains, feel the cool chill of a cell and see detectives lurking in the shadows… 

After Pamuk, Richard Carlisle, Tony Gillingham, Charles Blake and co, Mary has got herself a reputation for being a bit picky. Word has travelled that she might roll around in pig muck with you, or indulge in a week-long Liverpool-based tryst, but it won’t secure you the Crawley estate. And there are no more eligible bachelors willing to hang around as long as Tony Gillingham did on the off-chance she’ll say ‘I do’. As a result Mary’s having to adjust her expectations somewhat for husband number two. Desperate times, eh? 

With Carson and Mrs Hughes poised to take their fledgling relationship to the next level and walk down the aisle, the Abbey’s butler has been tasked with a rather upsetting job: informing Mrs Patmore that she won’t be joining the newlyweds in their marital cottage. Downton’s butler, housekeeper and cook have been a trio for decades. After the engagement Patmore never once thought their change in status would leave her spending her evenings alone at the Abbey. It’s an awkward conversation, but it had to happen sooner or later… 

The Abbey is on high alert. The arrival of a policeman can only mean one thing: either Anna Bates or Mr Bates is heading back behind bars. We thought Sergeant Willis was a rather nice and jolly chap, but we were clearly mistaken. Here he is raising a glass of champagne in celebration at the perpetrator of this murder finally being caught, which seems rather cruel in the circumstances. 

Well, either that or he’s now a suitable dinner companion for the Crawleys…  


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