Episode 1

1925. Big changes are afoot. Robert anticipates having to cut costs, and reduce the size of the staff, which worries Carson. Mrs Hughes is nervous about being embarrassed when performing her wifely duties when married to Carson, and asks Mrs Patmore to sound him out; after much embarrassment, Carson says he expects them to have a full marriage, which reassures Mrs Hughes. The local hospital is threatened with a take-over by the larger County Hospital; the board is split, with Violet objecting, and Isobel approving in the name of efficiency. A former chambermaid, Rita Bevan, turns up trying to blackmail Mary by revealing her tryst with Lord Gillingham. Mary refuses to pay, but Rita confronts Robert, who buys her off with £50 instead of the £1,000 she wanted, and gets a signed confession to prevent further blackmail. He admires Mary's pluck, and approves of her taking over Tom's job as the estate's Agent.Sergeant Willis tells Bates and Anna that a woman has confessed to killing Green, and the matter is closed. Anna is upset at not having a child; twice she was convinced she was pregnant, but it was a miscarriage each time. Edith plans to spend more time in London, and be more hands-on with the publishing business. The family attend an auction at a neighbouring estate which is being sold off. Daisy unwisely confronts the new owner because her father-in-law Mr Mason may lose his farm, but this backfires, and she only succeeds in angering him. Although she is liable to dismissal, Cora keeps her on. The owner tells Robert that great estates like theirs are on the way out, and advises him to sell up too.

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