What’s going to happen in the Downton Abbey Christmas special?

As series five comes to a dramatic close, we look ahead to the Christmas special with Ellie Walker-Arnott's patented guessing game

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The final credits have rolled on the fifth season of Downton Abbey and naturally I am distraught. The only glimmer of hope? The one thing worth carrying on for? The Downton Abbey Christmas special, of course. Luckily, it’s just 46 short days away. 

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Instead of shooting holidays in Scotland or coming out parades in high summer, this festive season we are getting a real festive special. Think carols around the Christmas tree, mountains of mince pies, piles of pudding and the biggest turkey in the whole of the land. 

But what’s going to happen when the Crawleys return to our telly screens? We already have a fairly good idea of what delicious dramas we can expect, so let’s make some spurious suggestions… 

Misery plagues this lovely couple. Their plans of a bed and breakfast in the country and a brood of happy little children are looking less and less likely. I mean, what were the chances that both of them would be arrested for murder, eh? (Seriously, Fellowes. What ARE the chances?) 

Bates isn’t one to sit on his laurels and let a situation play out. We know he’s got a few nefarious skills up his sleeve – skills which he’ll use to trick those bumbling detectives into thinking he was the real killer. That innocence-guaranteeing train ticket is ash in Lady Mary’s grate, don’t forget.

Christmas will see Bates confessing to the murder of Green. He’ll do it so his loyal and lovely wife Anna can be free – though, of course, unless fate intervenes, it will also mean that he’ll hang for a crime he didn’t commit. Merry Christmas. 

So Robert knows about Edith’s love child and he’s completely cool with it, which is alarmingly uncharacteristic. Have we ever witnessed the man being so warm and open minded before? All this business with Simon Bricker has really knocked him down a peg or two.

We know Mrs Hughes has her suspicions about Marigold’s parentage and surely wronged Mrs Drewe is a ticking time bomb: Downton is one rowdy social event away from complete scandal. But, you know, with a chauffeur and now a Jew in the family, it’s time Robert permanently became more forward thinking. Underneath it all, sex out of wedlock clearly means very little to the inhabitants of the Abbey anyway so the Christmas special will see them become social pioneers. The black sheep of the upper classes, promoting contraceptive devices and “charming bastards” alike.  

Talking of sex out of wedlock, our Dowager Countess received a proposal of her own in the series five finale. It seems ol’ Prince Kuragin isn’t too bothered about finding his missing wife after all. He wants to live out the rest of his days at Dower House as Violet’s lover. (And it’s nothing to do with the fact that he’s destitute and living in a leaky bedsit. Promise.)

Christmas will see Violet struggle with conflicted and confused emotions as she considers Kuragin’s improper proposal. The pair will give in to their feelings and decide to throw caution to the wind on Christmas Eve (if Edith’s already ruined the Crawley name, why not?) only for Mrs Princess Kuragin to appear just as the crackers are pulled on Christmas Day… 

With Tony and Mabel set to marry during Advent and Charles Blake off in Europe for the forseeable, this is the face Mary will mainly be pulling this festive season. 

Asides from a small gleeful moment when Edith’s secret is inevitably revealed and she becomes a social pariah overnight, manless Mary will have a gloomy Christmas with no one to “sketch” with, toy with or lead on. And it will all be made worse by the realisation that Marigold has now significantly devalued the Crawley name. Humph. 

Branson leaving the Abbey? No, we’ll never stand for it. The festive special will see Sybil’s husband fall head over heels in love and swiftly abandon all plans to scarper to America. He can’t go, those renovated homes and new builds need him.

All Branson wants is a forward-thinking, politically-aware, trouser-wearing lass to catch his eye over a crowded carol singing sesh. Our vote? Newly educated and impassioned Daisy. The Crawleys have set a precedent letting Branson become ‘one of them’, plus it would be completely brilliant to see Daisy have a lady’s maid, wear fancy beaded gowns and attempt to sit through a Downton dinner, being served by Carson and eating Mrs Patmore’s grub. 

It’s Christmas. The snow will most definitely be falling. (If you can’t have a white Christmas on the telly, where can you?) And if that counts for anything, it’s time for a yuletide proposal as snowflakes swirl around, all romantic like.

With Lady Mary sworn off menfolk, Edith fighting social injustice and Rose off the market, it’s time Carson plucked up the courage to make an honest woman out of Mrs Hughes. The pair already spend every waking minute together; they bicker, argue and occasionally hold hands. Yes, they sleep in separate beds, but they’ve already discussed their options for getting on the property market. They practically are married. It’s time, Charlie C, it’s time… 

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DISCLAIMER: None of this is actually likely to take place in this year’s Christmas special. Well, it might, you never know. Imagine if we’d predicted it all correctly…