Fellowes was talking about the show – which is a massive hit on PBS in the States – at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in California.
He also explained that the repercussions of the Great War will also be affecting everyone from those in the drawing room to those in the kitchens.
“The ’20s are a more nebulous time. In the third series you see the impact on this family of the Irish Troubles,” he said. “At the time it was actually much more the headline than the suffragettes or the other things. The Irish Problem seems to be a yawning difficulty for Britain and the British Empire.”
Yet Fellowes insisted that although there would be some tears, there would be a few laughs on the menu. Preview footage has shown cast members discussing money troubles, Mary and Matthew rowing and Bates languishing in jail.
“All I can tell you is Bates is in prison. Possibly he could be killed in prison, possibly he could take his own life,” said Brendan Coyle, who plays the lovable footman.
Yet Fellowes was also keen to portray the new series as one of hope and recovery, before confirming that some of the cast would be headed to America, where they would bump into Cora’s mother, played by Shirley MacLaine.
“Cora’s upbringing was not the same as Robert’s,” he expanded. “But as things start to change and the plates are shifting, we are reminded what Cora comes from. If anyone understands the world that is coming, it’s Cora.”