By CHRIS HASTINGS
PUBLISHED: 17:38 EST, 9 August 2014 | UPDATED: 04:22 EST, 10 August 201
For Downton Abbey’s 12 million fans, the waiting is almost over.
In just four days, journalists from around the world will descend on London to watch the first episode of the new series.
The producers of Britain’s most successful drama export are keeping the show’s explosive plot lines a closely guarded secret.
As Downton devotees know only too well, trying to work out what happens next can be as complicated as Lady Mary’s love life.
The fifth series of Downton Abbey is set in 1924 when Britain’s first Labour Government threatens to exacerbate simmering tensions both above and below stairs.
Several of the servants – including the normally reliable kitchen maid Daisy and the feckless Jimmy – are determined to better themselves.
Not even the generally unflappable Carson can protect the old ways from the winds of change. He says in a trailer: ‘I feel a shaking of the ground I stand on. The nature of life is not permanence, but flux. Things are changing.’
A series of scandals from the past – including the brutal rape of lady’s maid Anna Bates and Lady Edith’s secret love child – remain buried beneath the surface but have the potential to change life at Downton for ever.
The house is now fit to burst with secrets and the arrival of outsiders threatens to bring the carefully constructed façade crashing down.
At least one of Downton’s characters appears to have found themselves behind bars.
A female inhabitant of Downton was last week filmed getting out of a car and approaching the gates of the fictitious HMP York. Is she Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt)?
And could the visit be linked to her brutal rape at the hands of Lord Gillingham’s former valet Green, played by Nigel Harman?
Some fans suspect Green may have been murdered, although he is supposed to have died in a freak road accident in London’s West End.
The prime suspect for any killing would be Anna’s husband Bates (Brendan Coyle) who is known to have been in London around the time of Green’s death.
Or could the prison visit be linked to the mystery disappearance of Lady Edith’s lover Michael Gregson?
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