Downton Abbey - Sunday January 4 at 9/8C
The widely acclaimed period drama written by Julian Fellowes returns for a fifth series, again starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern.
As the new series opens, the story has moved on to 1924, when the first ever Labour government, headed by Scottish crofter's son James Ramsay MacDonald, heralds a sea change that is felt throughout the nation – nowhere more so than above and below stairs at Downton. A suggested plan from a delegation of villagers for a war memorial unexpectedly pits Carson (Jim Carter) against Robert (Bonneville) and Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan).
Young footman Jimmy (Ed Speleers) is the object of some unwanted female attention, and Thomas (Rob James-Collier) gives Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) an ultimatum – but is he skating on thin ice? The growing friendship between Branson (Allen Leech) and someone Robert considers quite unsuitable causes the earl concern. After the tragedy she has been through, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) now seems ready to find love once more.
Cracks appear in the special arrangement between Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Tim Drewe (Andrew Scarborough) as Edith struggles to keep her emotions in check – something which may have disastrous consequences for the entire household. Guest stars in the first episode include Harriet Walter and Anna Chancellor