Down time at abbey

The camera lifts from long grass swaying gently in the warm air of an English summer (perhaps it's summer - it is hard to gauge the temperature to any specific degree).

Two women stroll in a paradise of civilised nature, as giant elm trees (they could be elm trees, or perhaps some sort of conifer, I'm not sure) stand solid and comforting in the background.

The women are using umbrellas, clearly to keep the sun off their delicate white skin (unless it has been raining, it is hard to be certain).

''I love him - I'd accept him in a trice if it weren't for Marigold,'' the younger one says.

Yes, it's Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) and her fictional daughter Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael).

And yes, it is the last episode of Downton Abbey - not just of this series but ever (apart from two specials coming soon on Prime, and of course the Christmas special).

But how will it all end?

Will it be a deeply satisfying denouement, or a disappointing lurch into bathos?

Will there be a wedding?

I hope so - I hope so very much.

We'll all find out on Prime, this Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, December began today, meaning December programming is upon us.

There will be Christmas cooking shows, another David Walliams (Little Britain) kids' show for Christmas Eve (more on that next week) and The Making of the Mob on the History Channel December 9 - yet another show about Mafioso types with machine guns walking through dry ice.

That was as far as I could get on that one, but people who like shows just like that will enjoy it.

You can always try Growing Old Disgracefully, a one-off documentary on Sky's Vibe channel on December 20.

For older viewers, this show could give you some ideas of how not to live your autumn years.

This United Kingdom show focuses on over-60s getting drunk and dancing about in bars in Tenerife, which is in Spain, apparently.

There is shot-sinking grandmother Cheryl, who says: ''My motto is if you can't remember, it didn't happen.''

Then there's 74-year-old Leapy Lee (or similar) who says: ''I think Viagra's one of the greatest inventions ever.''

''They might have an appointment with the Grim Reaper, but he'll have to catch them first,'' the voiceover tells us.

This is as awful as it sounds, and should only be watched by people for whom this description sounds really good.

Olive Ketteridge was given a second run on Sky's SoHo recently, and the pleasingly bleak drama starring Frances McDormand (Fargo, and other Coen brothers' movies), which I haven't seen before, is brilliant.

Find it somewhere.

- Charles Loughrey 

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