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ITV lines up fifth series of Downton Abbey for 2014

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ITV has commissioned a fifth series of Downton Abbey.

The broadcaster said audience figures for the fourth series, which ended this weekend, had averaged at 11.8 million viewers. It claimed this made the series the “highest rated drama on television in 2013”.

Series five will once again be written by Julian Fellowes and executive produced by Gareth Neame, the managing director of production company Carnival, which makes the show. Liz Trubridge and Fellowes will also executive produce the series.

Neame said: “Audiences have enjoyed their regular Sunday evening visits back to Downton once again this autumn and we are thrilled to produce a new series of the show next year. We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television. All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year”.

A two-hour special of Downton Abbey will be broadcast on Christmas Day, which will see Shirley MacLaine reprise her role as Martha Levinson and Paul Giamatti join the cast as Cora’s brother, Harold.

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