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By Joanna Crawley On December 26, 2012

Shocked Downton Abbey Fans Take To Twitter After Surprise Twist To Christmas Special

Spoiler alert!

We don't know about you but we thought settling down to watch the Downton Abbey Christmas special would be a nice jolly way to round off the festive festivities. Of course ITV and Julian Fellowes couldn't let us off lightly, even if it is Christmas, ending the show with a last minute shocker that led to thousands taking to twitter to share their grief.

It all started off nicely enough, for much of the two hour special Downton fans were treated to Scottish jigs, village fetes and plenty of flirting as the Crawley family decamped to the Highlands for their summer break. The only hint of trouble seemed to come when Thomas the footman was beaten up by some locals down the fair. But of course a Downton Christmas wouldn't be complete without some drama which started when a pregnant Lady Mary was rushed to hospital.

Just as we were all breathing a sight of relief that Mary didn't meet the same tragic fate as her sister Sybil during childbirth, Matthew had to go and ruin it all by jumping in his car.

What followed was the inevitable, a crash, some timely words from the Dowager and Matthew lying dead in the road whilst a glowing Mary remained oblivious in hospital.

Straight after the climatic scene, shocked fans took to twitter in droves:

"@mehmeted WE WAITED TWO SERIES FOR MARY AND MATTHEW TO MARRY, ONE MEASLY SERIES OF THEM TOGETHER AND NOW T H I S?!?!???????? #downton"

"@em_john Unbelievable. They let him survive all that WWI stuff just to kill him off at his happiest moment. Bastards #downton"

Even the celebs were getting all worked up with I'm A Celebrity star Helen Flanagan posting: "Downton no!!!!"

Meanwhile lots of viewers pointed out that new arrivals at Downton seem to be swiftly followed by a tragic departure with @joparker95 summing it up nicely: "well it seems human population is going to remain extremely steady if this is how its going to go for every baby being born #downton."

All credit must for to Fellowes and his team, not to mention actor Dan Stevens, for guarding the secret so tightly over the past couple of months. Despite rumours that Stevens would not be returning for series four, there was never any clear indication of how and when Matthew would leave the drama.

In a new interview with The Telegraph the actor explained that he in fact made the difficult decision to leave the hit drama way back in Februray, before filming for the third series had even started:

“We were always optioned for three years,” he explains. “And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things."

“It is a very monopolising job. So there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be.”

Were you shocked by Downton's dramatic end?

Tags : Downton Abbey

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