TV Highlights

Downton Abbey

ITV - 9pm

Who's in it?

We'll have to wait a little while longer to see George Clooney come to Downton (haven't you heard? George Clooney's coming to Downton), but Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and the rest of the gang will do just fine in the interim.

In a nutshell

So, anyone getting Downton fatigue yet? No? Good, we can get on with the business of being excited about series five, then. The year is now 1924 (got to love the big Downton time jumps – they'll be in 1986 before long) and a Labour government has come to power. We're not sure what that'll mean for the characters, except we fully demand and expect to hear Lady Violet tut tutting about frightful Socialists ruining the country, or something.

Meanwhile, Branson is about ready to move on from the memory of Lady Sybil. That means it's time for a new love interest, a local schoolteacher who Robert doesn't approve of. But then Robert doesn't tend to approve of anything, so it's all fine really. Mary is also emerging from the grieving process and ready to start dating (or courting or wooing, or whatever the appropriate lingo is). Yep, there'll be love entanglements and awkward interactions and icy stares a-plenty, as well as the occasional celebrity cameo – expect Richard E Grant to appear in this series as an art historian.

What's the verdict?

While it's hard to get quite as excited about Downton as we used to, it still goes down as smoothly and ravishingly as vintage port. Just as long as no other beloved characters get killed off in the next few episodes, we'll be happy.

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07-07-2011