The final episode in the second series of Downton Abbey was shown on Sunday, with Lavinia, Matthew's fiancee, considerate enough to die of Spanish flu, leaving the way open for him to renew his romance with Mary. There has been criticism of this second series, focused on some of the historical gaffs in language, but most has been centred around too many advertising breaks and a rather rushed presentation of events, which never developed beyond the one-dimensional.
However, overall the series has been welcomed, even if there have been moments of unintentional laughter, like that Glee-like episode when Matthew, returning from the war, joined in a duet with the fragrant Lady Mary. Absolutely wonderful television, that made me chuckle like no comedy series has for ages.
What is great about Downton Abbey, as with X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, is that whatever the criticism, these programmes have brought back weekend family viewing and have returned television to being a prime topic for conversation every Monday, in offices, shops and factories across the land.
Downton Abbey will have a Christmas Special and a third series next year. It is a pity that the writer and creator Julian Fellowes was pressured into delivering a second series so soon after the surprise success of the exquisite first.
However, it managed to retain an audience of over 10 million for each episode, providing great entertainment, tears and laughter, even if the latter was often not intentional. Great stuff, can't wait for the next series!