Lord of the Manor reins supreme (ish)
Robert gets back in the saddle as Downton’s fierce patriarch. His power had been being gradually eroded in the last series by Matthew, who owned 50 per cent of the estate, who along with Tom Branson (former driver and Lady Sibyl’s widower), was keen to modernise them out of a financial pickle.
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, says he starts off series four facing “a double a calamity” -the breaking of Mary’s heart and the loss of his heir, plus potentially disastrous death duties looming large. The solution? To reimpose some good old Victorian values. “At the beginning of the third series we saw Robert’s own folly jeopardising the future of the estate…This time, the death of his heir and the burden of death duties – half the estate was owned by Matthew and punitive taxes are due to the revenue. What is he to do? How can he preserve Downton for his heir, the baby George?”
But could his efforts be interfered with by Mary herself? A girl running Downton? Somebody pass the Dowager the smelling salts.