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Is 'Downton Abbey: the movie’ really happening? We suggest five possible story lines…

Ellie Walker-Arnott

'Downton Abbey’ has been back in the news this week, and it’s about time too. As the nights draw in, fans will feel all too keenly the massive, gaping, period-drama shaped hole in our Sunday nights. Sure, there’s Poldark’s bared pecs and Victoria’s swishing skirts, but this is the first autumn in six years that we haven’t been welcomed back into the Crawleys’ crumbling country pile. And as a self-professed ‘Downton’ superfan, I can confirm it’s no picnic. 

But, you know us, we won’t be defeatist. (It’s terribly middle class.) Instead, we’ve decided to help the show’s writer Julian Fellowes on his way, with a few potential plots for this rumoured 'Downton Abbey' movie

'Downton Abbey and the Butler’s reign of terror'  

This is more of a psychological thriller than a period drama, but, hey, if Edith’s doing something jolly with her hair, we’ll take it. In the final minutes of the final ever episode, Thomas Barrow was promoted to butler – not under butler, not second butler, actual butler. Hugh Bonneville’s lord of the manor was convinced, but do we believe he’s totally changed for the better? Do we heck. Barrow’s capable of some beastly behaviour and the Abbey is now a terrifying place with him at the helm. (You’ll be glad you got out of there while you still could, Carson.)

'Dowton Abbey: Love Down on the Farm'

Daisy, Daisy, Daisy… Always unlucky in love, right up until the end. Her will-they-won’t-they with Andy – the city boy turned country bumpkin – almost had a happy ending. But it didn’t quite. Until this romcom spin 'Downton Abbey'. Finally, she’ll take centre stage as her and Andy navigate the tricky politics of love, feminism and crop rotation. This will also get around the issue with Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess being unrealistically old, as she wouldn’t be seen dead down in Yew Tree Farm. #justsayin

'Downton Abbey Rebooted'

The key to Downton's eternal life? That lies with its younger generation: George, Sybbie and Marigold. If the film were to fast-forward to 1939 it would find Britain on the cusp of the Second World War and the Crawley cousins ready to tell their own stories. George – heir to Robert's title and the Crawley estate and fortune – would be about to come of age, while Sybbie would be 19 and Marigold 16. Between the Abbey and the Crawleys' London residence, there could be conscription, rationing, evacuees and the Blitz to contend with, not forgetting flings with handsome American pilots, moral and political turmoil and victory rolls. It makes so much sense, I can't believe this isn't already in production.

'Downton Shabby'

Season six might have had a happy ending, but the future of the Abbey was still uncertain. And who knows what misguided investments Robert is secretly making now? You can’t return to Downton without dealing with the question of the declining upper classes. How are they going to survive? Will they sell? Will they have to drink Waitrose Essential port? Introducing: the National Trust. Now, the Crawleys don’t just go upstairs to take off their hats, they cower there while the hoi polloi wander around their dressing rooms. Seriously strapped for cash, the Dowager has even set up a finishing school for the upper classes’ especially disappointing offspring at the w-w-weekends. 

'Dawn of the Dead-ton Abbey'

A horror spin-off? It might seem like a strange change in direction but if you remember Robert’s bloody dinner party (and how can we forget, it’s burned onto our retinas) you’ll know the show is already halfway there. Challenging all expectations, the 'Downton Abbey' movie will embrace the macabre potential of the imposing manor house. Before we know it, Pamuk, Lavinia and co will be dragging themselves out of the village graveyard and heading towards Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) to exact their revenge…

Can't wait for the Downton movie? Here are 22 TV shows you should be watching this autumn... 

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