Science proves that Downton Abbey is the perfect TV show

A new study has found that Downton Abbey fits the formula for the perfect TV series - and Lady Sybil's death in series three is the best example

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It’s official. Downton Abbey is the perfect TV show. 

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As a dedicated fan of the hit ITV period drama, it’s a fact I’ve long suspected. But now science is on my side because a recent study carried out at Bournemouth University has found that the Crawleys’ aristocratic dramas are the closest we can get to televised perfection. 

Researchers assessed the most popular TV episodes of the last decade (as picked from a poll of 2,000 British viewers) – which included the final episode of Friends, Sherlock’s The Reichenbach Fall and the 2007 EastEnders Christmas special – to calculate a formula for the ultimate TV episode.

They concluded that the perfect instalment was made up of 65% drama, 12% shocks, 9% comedy, 8% action and 6% romance. And the episode of Downton Abbey series three in which Lady Sybil died was the closest to achieving these proportions. 

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“The small screen now rivals the big screen thanks to the huge number of gripping TV series, unmissable sport and box office hits available at our fingertips,” said head of BT TV Delia Bushell, who commissioned the study. “We wanted to know what makes TV so unmissable. Through our research, we’ve cracked the code.”