THE STORY SO FAR...

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - COVER STORY -

T hree un­mar­ried daugh­ters but no son to in­herit – in 1912 that was the plight of the Earl of Gran­tham, who there­fore stood to lose his fam­ily es­tate in York­shire, Down­ton Abbey. His heir turned out to be dis­tant cousin Matthew Craw­ley, a so­lic­i­tor whose mid­dle-class ori­gins were poi­son to the earl’s el­dest daugh­ter Lady Mary. But all would be saved if Mary and Matthew could fall in love, which they even­tu­ally did. The post-war years of 1920 and 1921 were hard for the earl. His own fool­ish in­vest­ments put the es­tate in jeop­ardy, mid­dle daugh­ter Edith was jilted, and the youngest, Sy­bil, died in child­birth. Hap­pily, though, Matthew and Mary were mar­ried and Down­ton’s fu­ture se­cured with the birth of their son Ge­orge. All was set fair… un­til the proud fa­ther swerved to avoid a lorry and crashed to his death.

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