After the drama of series two – remember Lavinia, WW1 and the spanish flu epidemic? – plus the Christmas special which saw Matthew FINALLY proposing to Lady Mary, last night’s episode of Downton Abbey was an eagerly anticipated affair.
The series premiere saw Downton stepping into the 1920s. The war is over, Matthew and Mary are together at last and all is well at the Abbey. Or is it? From financial woes to drunken dinner guests, last night saw plenty of obstacles for the Crawleys to overcome…
Comedy actor Simon Pegg was clearly looking forward to the start of series three, tweeting
While STEPS singer Claire Richards tweeted her excitement too
Though many Twitter users, like @IncrediblyRich, weren’t quite as keen…
@IncrediblyRich: “I don’t watch Downton Abbey but from what I can gather they all live in a massive house and Maggie Smith is really pissed off about it.”
Once the opening credits had rolled, we didn’t have to wait long for a bit of Downton drama. One minute we were getting excited about the upcoming nupitals and the next we were being told that “All the money is gone…” Cue panic and a few well-timed tears from the Earl.
@scottm said: “Oh, the Granthams. This is what you get for leaving Twenty Twelve’s Head of Deliverance in charge of your money. So it’s all good #downton”
It is hard to imagine Downton on a budget will have the same pull…
@milkbutnotsugar: “Oh goddd, is Downton going to lose all its money? Because I don’t want to watch if they are POOR. #snobby #shallow #downtonabbey #Downton”
But this resourceful Twitter user has already come up with a new name for the show.
@benjaminfgray: “Oh dear. Oh well, roll on Downton Portakabin.”
As Lady Mary and Matthew’s vows approached we were treated to some wedding night advice from Lady Cora, and a little bit of Downton-style flirting which made some Tweeters uncomfortable.
@rozya: “I’m afraid I’m not okay with Mary & Matthew talking about doing it. #downton”
While others feared for Matthew’s safety…
@mulholland_s: “I am afeared for Matthew. Last boy Lady Mary took to bed didn’t live to tell the tale #downton #playnicely”
But in true Downton style, the wedding didn’t go off without a hitch. There was plenty of time for another ‘Will they, won’t they?’ But after two series, Twitter users were irritated by more obstacles popping up in the lovebirds’ way….
@FictionWitch: “So that’s the wedding off, because of dead Lavinia? #downton Faux obstacle land.”
@mulholland_s: “#downton is like a 1920s episode of Don’t Tell the Bride. WHAT IS HE DOING?”
Thankfully the chauffeur appeared to save the day (at least for now). And we finally got to see Lady Mary in a wedding dress. The dress itself has been as tightly kept a secret as the frock Kate Middleton married Wills in. So now we’ve seen it, was it worth the wait?
@charlie_nathan certainly thought so, tweeting: “loved mary’s wedding dress (though at first didn’t realise the dressing gown wasn’t the dress & was terribly disappointed with it) #downton”
@Hilary_W was hankering after something a little more Big Fat Gypsy Wedding… “They’re doing it wrong – Mary’s dress isn’t 15 stone and covered in pink animatronic butterflies & the bridesmaids are fully clothed #downton”
If you were waiting for some kind of catastrophe to befall Lady Mary in between leaving the Abbey and arriving at the church you would have been disappointed. Although as the episode ended we hadn’t actually heard the words “I do”, as soon as it was safe to assume that Downton’s star crossed lovers are going to get hitched fans everywhere breathed sigh of relief…
@deniseodonoghue: “I’m so glad Matthew and Mary are married, no one wanted an early twentieth-century English upperclass Ross and Rachel #downtonabbey #downton”
Girls Aloud star agreed, tweeting
Lady Edith got a fair amount of Twitter attention last night. She was praised for her “jolly” hairdo:
@sarahwitten: “#downton ooh great marcel wave hair Edith”
But it wasn’t the only thing which attracted Twitter attention. Twitter users also noted that Lady Edith was suddenly more confident in her pursuit of Sir Anthony…
“Who kidnapped Lady Edith and replaced her with a real human? #downton” said Tweeter @anna1705.
@SarahxMargaret: “Edith is on pursuit!!! Go on lass!!! #Downton”
Even Daybreak presenter Lorraine Kelly popped up in her support, saying:
Other highlights included the arrival of Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s mother who immediately put the Dowager Countess on edge…
@slayhue: “I want a Downton Abbey spin-off with the Dowager Countess and Mrs. Levinson just insulting each other’s countries for an hour. #downtonabbey”
The return of Sybil and her chauffer husband also rattled a few feathers… Even the Countess herself took to twitter to share her views on the matter:
So, all in all was it a hit or a miss?
While some viewers were sceptical – @russyork: “Hoping Downton gets a little juicier than this. The fall of the fortune to be saved by Matthew’s fortune seems sort of obvious” – most were gushing about Downton’s return to our screens.
Our columist Sarah Millican said
While other Twitter users agreed: @andywood86: “Fellows back to his best with this Downton.”
@sianfoley: “Absolutely loving the return of Downton Abbey! Matthew and Mary eventually together! #romantic #DowntonAbbey”
The second episode of Downton Abbey series three is on Saturday at 9:00pm on ITV1.