When the Christmas special came to a close last year, hundreds of thousands of viewers climbed to their snow-covered rooftops and shouted in a chorus of hate and anger “I’M NEVER WATCHING DOWNTON AGAIN!!!!” Well, they didn’t really, but if you read some of the newspaper reports of the time you would have thought something similar had happened. Why? Because a long-running character was killed off just after he succeeded in becoming a father.
Of course, it was very sad when Matthew died. He looked so happy as he drove down that country lane waiting to tell everyone the good news that he and Lady Mary had at last produced a child. But a car crash spoiled it all and viewers were treated to a decidedly un-merry Christmas evening. However, I think it was a bit ridiculous to claim – as some did at the time – that this was the end of Downton Abbey, viewers would turn off and nobody would care about it anymore. Primetime dramas kill off their characters all the time, and it’s worth remembering that there were some people moaning that the show was getting boring and not enough was going on. I do feel for Julian Fellows somewhat. It must be very hard trying to please everybody.
I loved the 2012 Christmas special, even if I was apparently the only one, but it seems ITV may have taken to heart the shrieking of the upset fans last year, as the new trailer for Series 4 is a decidedly more upbeat, happy and sparkly affair. No sign of any blood, no trench-based violence, no death or destruction. Just a lot of photogenic actors looking very happy and occasionally kissing each other while jolly track Wolf’s Law by The Joy Formidable blasts along in the background. This trailer screams: WE STILL KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN!! They’ve even done away with their long-term use of singers Scala and their choir-reworkings of modern songs. Far too sombre and powerful, clearly. Series 4 is all about smiles and laughter! So here it is, the new full-length trailer.
Downton Abbey will return to ITV HD and ITV on September 22.