Downton Abbey, 3 Special - Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern
Downton Abbey, 3 Special - Earl of Grantham, Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) ©2012 Carnival

While PBS readies to air the main batch of episodes of Downton Abbey Series 3 in 2013 in the UK they are transmitting a Downton Abbey Series 3 Special at Christmas.

In the episode the family take a summer break in the Highlands of Scotland while most of most of their servants back at home at Downton Abbey.

The Downton Abbey Series 3 Special can be seen in the UK on ITV on Tuesday, 25 December 2012, at 8:45PM – 10:45PM. This special will get a US screening sometime after Season 3 which starts airing in January 2013.

Downton Abbey Series 3 Special Gallery

Downton Abbey Series 3 Special Official Information

Downton Abbey, 3 Special - Poster: The main cast
Downton Abbey, 3 Special – Poster: The main cast in front of at Duneagle Castle ©2012 Carnival

In Downton Abbey Series 3 Special the family receive a warm welcome at Duneagle Castle, visiting Rose and her parents in the Highlands. But there is no disguising the tensions between their hosts.

Carson is determined to keep the servants back at Downton working hard, but with a country fair coming up, will some be tempted to push their luck?

Could romance be on the cards for Mrs Patmore?

It sees Lord and Lady Grantham and family heading for a summer break in The Highlands of Scotland, leaving most of their servants back at home.

The annual visit to his Scottish cousins at Duneagle Castle, where the piper calls the tune for breakfast and dinner, is the highlight of Robert’s (Hugh Bonneville) year.

Duneagle is the home of young, headstrong Lady Rose (Lily James), who was sent home in the last episode of series three after her dalliance with a married man.

The castle is a grander step up from Downton, with deer stalking and fishing also on hand in the stunning surrounding Scottish countryside.

During the special episode Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) discovers that newspaper editor Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) also happens to be on holiday in Scotland and may not be there just for the sketching and fishing.

While Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary (Michelle Dockery) disagree about Mr Gregson’s motives towards unlucky-in-love Edith.

Personal servants John Bates (Brendan Coyle), his wife Anna (Joanne Froggatt), Molesley (Kevin Doyle) and O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) accompany the family on their trip north.

O’Brien discovers a kindred spirit below stairs in the form of her opposite number, Susan’s lady’s maid Wilkins (Simone Lahbib). But who will be left reeling at the Gillies’ Ball?

The Scottish scenes were shot on location at Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell.

Meanwhile back in Yorkshire, estate land agent Tom Branson (Allen Leech) has stayed behind at Downton with young daughter ‘Sybbie’.

In spite of the family’s attempts to integrate the former chauffeur into their world, he continues to live between the Crawleys and the servants below stairs. He’s still grieving for wife Sybil, the youngest daughter, who died after giving birth to their first child.

Butler Mr Carson (Jim Carter) faces the task of keeping the household servants concentrated on their work polishing the silverware and cleaning the rooms.

Downton Abbey, 3 Special - The cast
Downton Abbey, 3 Special – The main cast in front of at Duneagle Castle ©2012 Carnival

Colin Davies

The editor of Film Review Online