New series of Abbey drama announced

TV bosses have ordered a second series of Downton Abbey after its ratings success, it was announced today.

ITV has commissioned another eight-part run of the country house drama - scripted by Oscar winner Julian Fellowes - to be screened next year.

The network said the programme, which drew nine million viewers for its first episode last month - is the most successful new drama launched on any channel for 18 months.

The programme, which stars Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton and Elizabeth McGovern, examines the lives of the Crawley family and their domestic staff.

ITV’s director of drama commissioning Laura Mackie said: “We’re delighted with the audience response to Downton Abbey and the positive critical reaction.

“We’re extremely proud to have commissioned a series which has clearly captivated ITV1 viewers.”

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