ITV announces the commission of eight new episodes of the immensely successful Downton Abbey written and created by Julian Fellowes.
Audience figures for the second series have increased by over 21 percent on the first series with a consolidated average of 11.5 million viewers watching the first six episodes of this current series – making it the most popular drama series on UK television for over 10 years.
The new series will be set in 1920 and 1921, and the drama will cover a period of 18 months in the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them.
The globally successful series, produced by Carnival Films, a division of NBCUniversal International Television Production, debuted on ITV1 in September 2010. Since then the country has been gripped by the storylines that saw Downton at war during the second series and the house consumed by the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919.
After 15 episodes and with a Christmas special episode to look forward to on ITV1 in December 2011, the nation remains obsessed and riveted by Downton Abbey.
The cast returning will include amongst others Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jessica Findlay Brown, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Rob James-Collier, Siobhan Finneran, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Allen Leech and Amy Nuttall.
The third series will be written once again by Oscar and Emmy award winner Julian Fellowes. The Carnival Films produced series will be executive produced by Gareth Neame, the Managing Director of Carnival Films, together with Julian Fellowes. Liz Trubridge will produce the series for a third time.
The new series has been commissioned by ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Laura Mackie and Controller of Drama Commissioning Sally Haynes.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be bringing Downton Abbey back for a third series, as we follow the inhabitants of Downton as they move into the roaring 20’s. It’s rare to find a drama that the audience connects with so strongly and we’re extremely proud to have commissioned a series that has become such a phenomenon,” Said Laura.
Carnival’s Managing Director Gareth Neame responded:
“Downton Abbey has become a huge hit worldwide, sold to over 200 territories and with accolades such as 6 Primetime Emmys and The Guinness World Record. The current series has built on the first with an audience increase of over 21 percent. Julian has created a fantastic ensemble of characters, with a myriad of stories which are dramatic, romantic and comedic all centred around the environment that is Downton. We could not be more excited to invite audiences back to Downton next year.”
Downton Abbey’s writer and creator Julian Fellowes said:
“I am extremely grateful to ITV for this. I have grown very fond of my Downton family and I certainly do not want to say goodbye to them quite yet.”