With ITV’s popular period drama wrapping up its final series, TV Critic Georgie Deaville counts down the top ten most shocking moments of the show’s six series.

Written by Georgie Deaville
Images by ITV

Last Sunday night saw the final episode of the final series of ITV’s world class drama Downton Abbey. We can all agree that Sunday evenings will never be the same without it. If you’ve never seen Downton Abbey, you perhaps wouldn’t expect half of the shocking trials and tribulations that occur in that house. Here I present to you a countdown of my top ten most shocking moments of the entire series. Spoilers ahead.

10. Death of Isis the Dog

Okay, so perhaps not particularly shocking as such, but it certainly was an upsetting episode. The family dog had been in the series since the very first opening credits and her iconic tail continued to open each episode. The house just wasn’t the same until the family got a new puppy in the most recent series.

'Downton Abbey was not your average period drama...'

9. Mr Pamuk’s post-coital death

Way back in series one, this was possibly the first shocking moment that exhibited to the nation how Downton Abbey was not your average period drama. After doing the dirty with Lady Mary, he popped his clogs, to the shock of everyone, none more so than the eldest Crawley daughter herself I imagine.

8. Edith’s jilted at the altar

Not much luck ever seemed to come Edith’s way. She thought it was her time to shine when it came to her wedding day; getting hitched to the elderly and universally regarded unsuitable Sir Anthony Strallan. Apparently it was out of kindness when he decided to announce, “I can’t do this,” in front of everyone in the church.

7. Cora’s miscarriage

Another shocker from series one. Lady Cora’s then-maid O’Brien heard a false rumour that the family were thinking of giving her the sack, so out of rage she allowed her pregnant Lady Cora to slip on a bar of soap when getting out of the bath. Immediately regretting her vindictive decision, she lived the rest of her days working at Downton with a, rightly-so, guilty conscious.

6. Bates’ murder trial

The Bates’ first few months of marriage were not the smoothest, with Mr. Bates in prison for supposedly murdering his ex-wife. The trial, we hoped, would see Mr. Bates home and back in the house with his new wife, Anna. However, this was not the case and instead he was found guilty sentenced to be hanged to the dismay of Anna and the Crawley family. He got off in the end, but at the time it was an astonishment, especially for a Christmas episode.

5. Matthew Crawley’s death

Probably the most soul-destroying moment of British drama ever (until you get to number 1). Having just visited his newborn baby, Master George and happy wife, Lady Mary, Matthew Crawley, over the moon, drives back to Downton Abbey. Clearly his eyes were not on the road because seconds later he found himself in a fatal car crash. It was a huge turning point – the series that was never quite the same when Dan Stevens left the cast.

4. Thomas’ hand shooting in the trenches

A lot of the second series took place during the First World War. Footman Thomas Barrow had enlisted as a medic in the army and unwillingly found himself fighting in the trenches alongside Matthew Crawley. After watching a fellow medic get shot in the head, Thomas decided that enough was enough, held a lighter above the top of the trench and got his hand shot. This was just enough to get him sent back home to Downton. It was a graphic yet moving scene that perfectly displayed the terror of the soldiers in the trenches.

3. Lord Grantham’s stomach ulcer bursting over dinner

This shocking scene came from the most recent series. With a warning of ‘shocking scenes that some viewers may find unsettling’ during the ad break, I was excited to see what Downton had in store for us. I must say I nearly jumped out of my skin when over dinner Lord Grantham, almost out of the blue, stands up during a family argument and spurts a ghastly amount of blood all over the dinner table to the shock of every sat around it.

2. Anna’s rape

'I don’t think many viewers expected the disturbing nature of the seemingly friendly valet Mr. Green...'

I don’t think many viewers expected the disturbing nature of the seemingly friendly valet Mr. Green, who was staying at the house whilst Lord Gillingham was staying there during Series 4. During a performance from Dame Nellie Melba, Anna had made her way downstairs to get something for her headache and Mr. Green followed her. Initially trying to sweet-talk her, Anna insisted she was very happily married to Mr. Bates. This was when Mr. Green carried out his vicious attack. The images of the empty hallways with only the sound of the attack echoing through them was a very harrowing scene to watch.

1. Lady Sybil’s death

Lady Sybil and Tom Branson are (or should I say were) my favourite on-screen couple of all time. Having just given birth to their first child, there were happy smiles throughout the house of Downton Abbey…until a few moments later. Before the birth her eclampsia symptoms were diagnosed by Dr. Clarkson, so it could have been prevented, but they were ignored by the other doctor and Lord Grantham. The symptoms persisted after the birth, leading to fits and spasms and ultimately suffocation, leaving a heartbroken Crawley family and, more importantly, a heartbroken Tom Branson. I will never forgive the writers of Downton Abbey for this traumatic experience.

Tell us your top Downton moments in the comments below!