Nearly time for the Downton Abbey Christmas, er, special.

The nation holds its breath, or so we are told, for the so-called Christmas Special of that over-rated, under-imagined and breath-takingly unoriginal series Downton Abbey.

I see from the publicity photographs that the programme will feature a shooting party on the Downton estate. Maybe there will be a surprize in store for us but don’t forget the series is the brain child of that thieving magpie script writer and “creator” of the series, the self-regarding,  over-rewarded and recently appointed Tory life peer, Julian Fellowes. If you have ever watched the classic TV series Upstairs Downstairs, you will recognise most of the plot lines and if you are a fan of even the dullest of soap operas, you will know everyone’s lines before they say them. Well done Julian Fellowes, how do you get away with it?

Not that I want to spoil your pleasure but as I am told the plot is being kept strictly under-wraps, I thought I would devote thirty seconds to thinking about what could possibly go wrong at a shooting party where the three principal characters, two of them rivals in love,  march out with their guns. I think I have already thought about it longer than Julian Fellowes did.

There they are the desirable Lady Mary, blue-blooded  aristocrat, unhappy in love, her fiance, the ghastly and, worse than that in Tory-speak, the common, unscrupulous journalist mogul, Sir Richard something-or-other who is much too nouveau riche to run a stately home, and the bland, nice middle class Matthew Crawley, heir to the estate, Colin Firth wannabe and the man all Downton Abbey’s devoted fans want Lady Mary to marry. What could possibly go wrong? I hope they know how to handle their guns.

One thing is for sure, no one is going to shoot the indomitable Maggie Smith – without her as the Abbey’s dowager, there really would be nothing to watch.

Don’t miss it – if you really don’t have anything better to do with your life this Christmas. Maybe it’s time to cut your toenails or clean the bathroom.

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