Intrigue is building at Downton

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Downton Abbey (ITV, 9pm Sunday October 18).

We’re about halfway through the last-ever series. It’s as enthralling as ever and we still have no idea how writer Julian Fellowes will bring it all together. One thing is for sure, nobody involved with the production is spilling any beans.

“Some matters will be left open, because no-one reaches complete resolution until the end of their lives!” smiles executive producer Gareth Neame. “Ending Downton with a catastrophic earthquake never loomed large at the planning stage! There will naturally be a more traditional shape for Downton.

“Romance is of course a very important element. Romantic love plays an even more significant role than I expected when we first embarked on it and it has become one of the principal driving forces of the series – and romantic stories require resolution! But the fact is that our camera will gradually drift away from The Abbey and whichever inhabitants remain, and we’ll leave them to continue their lives...”

This week, the row over the future of the local hospital continues to rage, and takes a new turn when Violet embroils the Minister of Health in their argument.

Neville Chamberlain – the future prime minister – held that position in 1925, when Downton Abbey is set, and he journeys north to investigate. Unfortunately, his visit ends in disaster.