Entertainment TV Become a Downton Abbey fan in just five minutes
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Become a Downton Abbey fan in just five minutes

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Downton Abbey was heralded as the modern Upstairs Downstairs when it premiered in 2010. Four years on and Australia will get its first look at the fourth season this Sunday night.

While loveable characters and authentic costumes and settings have kept fans of this monolithic period drama hooked, it has been the shock twists that have taken this high-brow soap to another level.

Ahead of the new season launch, we take a look at the moments – mainly the births, deaths and marriages – that made the first three series, well, quite fun really (to be said in posh British accent).

Spoiler alert: if you haven’t watched the show, you are about to learn a lot about it.

Season 1 (1912-1914)

Season one, episode one: The Titanic sinks (gasp), killing Downton Abbey’s heirs and making way for the introduction of Matthew Crawley, the new successor of Downton.

Season one, episode three: The ‘handsome Turk’, Mr Kemal Pamuk, dies while seducing Mary, who then covers up her involvement with the help of her mother and her maid, Anna.

Season one, episode four: Sybil becomes a feminist and wears pants (Exciting!).

Season one, episode six: Matthew proposes to Mary (Spoiler alert: for the first time).

Season one, episode seven: Lady Grantham finds out she’s pregnant and then loses the baby when her maid, O’Brien, puts soap out to slip her up (O’Brien is bloody awful). Matthew retracts his marriage proposal and announces he is leaving Downton.

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Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) loses her baby in the season one finale. Photo: ITV

Season 2 (1916-1919)

Season two, episode one: Matthew announces his engagement to Lavinia Swire. Bates’ evil wife turns up at Downton Abbey after he has sought a divorce from her so he can marry Anna.

Photo: Supplied
Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) had one of the most-loved story lines in Downton Abbey: Season 2. Photo: Supplied

Season two, episode six: Cousin Patrick, the heir to Downton who went down with the Titanic, returns from the dead. Or does he? Matthew Crawley miraculously walks again after being paralysed fighting in WWI (Of course he does).

Season two, episode eight: Lord Grantham kisses one of the maids and almost consummates the attraction, while Lady Grantham is dying in the next room.

Season two, Christmas Special: Bates goes to prison. Mary and Matthew get engaged. Sybil and Branson, the politically charged Irish driver, are married.

Photo: Supplied
Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Branson (Allen Leech): As always, a drama ends in a marriage at Downton. Photo: Supplied

Season 3 (1920)


Season three, episode one: Lord Grantham loses the family’s money. Downton’s future looks rocky. Matthew and Mary are married.

Photo: Supplied
After two season on tenterhooks, Matthew and Mary got married. Photo: Supplied

Season three, episode three: Edith is jilted at the alter.

Season three, episode five: Sybil dies after the birth of her daughter (Would we have it any other way?).

Season three, episode seven: Thomas kisses Jimmy the footman and gets spectacularly knocked back.

Season three, Christmas episode: Matthew Crawley dies.

Photo: Supplied
Matthew Crawley’s death was thought to have signalled the death knell for Downton. Photo: Supplied

Downton Abbey Season four premieres on Channel 7 on Sunday, February 23. What can you expect? More births, deaths and marriages we expect.