A large part of the nation sat down on Christmas night in a state of concerned anticipation. The previous two Downton Christmas Specials have been, well, a bit mixed. The first was probably the best ever episode of Downton, featuring Bates' problems. However, last year the Special spent most of the time without anything very much happening but then managed to cast a pall over the festivities for many with its tragic ending.
This year, however, in my opinion Downton did not disappoint. As the title suggests, it is largely based in London and centres around the `coming out' of Lady Rose in 1923. For those of you who have not come across the expression, this involves the rather quaint upper class custom of introducing eligible young ladies to society, including being introduced to royalty. There is a good measure of romance, jealousy and intrigue - in other words exactly what we would expect from Downton! The pace of the plot is reasonable although arguably there was a little too much in the way of social gathering dominating the action, particularly earlier on. However, for me the highlight was the anticipated rematch between the incomparable Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLaine, fully charged with caustic wit and the clash of two strong personalities. Well worth seeing just for that little gem!
Certainly it was not as good as the first ever Downton Christmas Special, but that is hardly a fair comparison as that was such a good episode, with a strong central story. This was more a continuation of various existing plot lines, but was a good, solid Downton offering which most viewers will have enjoyed.