Downton Abbey: Lady Mary and Henry Talbot kiss

Downton Abbey's Lady Mary Crawley finally received her first kiss of the season when her racing driver beau Henry Talbot took advantage of a rainshower when he was walking her home after dinner to press his suit.

He also mentioned the idea that one day she might be his wife, which viewers of Downton will know is usually when Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, breaks into an elegant run for the hills.


Lady Mary is considering whether she has a future with racing car driver Henry Talbot

In this case Mary is worried about being richer than Henry (Matthew Goode) and because her late husband was killed in a car crash. While she's considering what to do about his growing interest in her, her sister Lady Edith is pursuing her romance with agent Bertie Pelham. Her dilemma is whether or not to tell him about her illegitimate daughter Marigold.

In the meantime the sisters have slightly more prosaic matters to contend with. Downton is being opened to the public much to the consternation of diehard conservative Mr Carson (Jim Carter) the butler.

The dashing suitor is wooing her enthusiastically

Despite his objections that letting in the hoi polloi would lead to revolution and "a guillotine in Trafalgar Square", the open day goes ahead.

The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) is on the warpath about being replaced as president of the hospital trust by her daughter-in-law Countess Cora, with events coming to a head quite spectacularly as members of the public wander around the big house.

Downton Abbey opens to the public for the first time to raise money

Elsewhere, the comic storyline continues about Mrs Hughes' cooking skills (or lack of them) continue to upset new husband Carson after their wedding. Actress Phyllis Logan does a wonderful job of keeping her cool as he makes suggestion after suggestion about how she can improve.

Mrs Patmore's friendship with Mr Mason the farmer continues to grow in the face of his daughter-in-law Daisy's loudly voiced disapproval.

Maggie Smith's magnificent character chooses that moment to throw a temper tantrum

Thomas Barrow, who started out as one of the most reviled characters on Downton, gains in sympathy with every episode. He is accused by Carson of trying to corrupt footman Andy, which is Twenties code for being gay. In fact the viewers know that all he is doing is teaching his young colleague to read.

With two episodes and a Christmas special to go, fans have yet to find out if their friendship will turn into something more lasting.