“Downton Abbey” fanatics – and we are legion – will have to wait until Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 for the season four premiere on PBS’ ‘Masterpiece Classic.’
Season four of the Julian Fellowes-created series will run for eight weeks, from Jan. 5 to Feb. 23, 2013. The British broadcast of the show will air in the fall of 2013 on ITV.
Season four will feature the return of beloved actress Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson. There will also be a slew of new actors, including Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman and Dame Harriet Walter. Also, opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Gary Carr will join the cast.
Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and many of the other “Downton Abbey” characters will return.
Season four will find the ‘Downton’ clan trying to move past the tragedies of previous seasons, including the death of heir Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) and youngest daughter Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay). The duo — along with Siobhan Finneran (devious maid Miss O’Brien) — will not be returning for season four.
The third season of the series ranked as PBS’ highest-rated drama ever, with an average of 11.5 million viewers tuning in over the course of seven episodes. The season three finale drew about 12.3 million viewers, beating all broadcast and cable competition airings in the time-slot.
Here’s a season four photo of Lady Mary and little one to ponder while we wait.