Downton Abbey Christmas special plot details revealed: scandalous secrets and drastic measures

The two-hour festive special sees the Crawleys' holiday haunted by a secret while Bates "takes drastic measures" to clear Anna's name

After a dramatic fifth season, which ended in the arrest of Anna Bates, Downton Abbey will return for a two-hour festive special this Christmas. And we’ve found out a little more about what to expect… 


The drama will pick up with the Crawleys in autumn 1924 during grouse shooting season when the clan are invited to a party hosted by Rose’s new in-law Lord Sinderby at Brancaster Castle in Northumberland. Their holiday goes far from smoothly, though, as “a scandalous secret” threatens to ruin their fun.  

The servants stay behind at Downton, where Baxter and Molesely team up and Carson and Mrs Hughes consider a business venture. Meanwhile in London, Anna “faces an uncertain future behind bars” and Bates “takes drastic measures” in a bid to clear her name. Sounds exciting, no?

The episode will feature regular stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Robert James-Collier, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, Sue Johnston, Jeremy Swift, Douglas Reith, Fifi Hart and Zac and Oliver Barker.

Meanwhile, James Faulkner, Penny Downie and Matt Barber will return as the Aldriges, Rade Sherbedgia will reprise his role as Prince Kuragin and some new faces will arrive on the scene, including Kurgin’s wife Princess Irina, played by Jane Lapotaire, and Alun Armstrong, who stars as the Sinderby’s butler Stowell. 


Downton Abbey returns for a Christmas special later this year