There's officially going to be a season 5 of Downton Abbey. On Sunday, the British network ITV announced that the show would return with its creator Julian Fellowes continuing as a writer. The fourth season has nearly finished airing in the U.K., while the U.S. is a bit behind. Season four of the show starts up for American audiences on PBS in January. The renewal will keep the show on both ITV and PBS's Masterpiece Classics.
In a statement, ITV said of the renewal:
"With Julian writing and Gareth (Neame) and Liz (Trubridge) producing, we know it will be as warm, witty, romantic and dramatic as previous series and we can't wait to catch up with our favourite characters again."
As we've explained before, some British fans and critics have already dubbed the fourth season of the show as boring, but people are still watching it, anyway. Lots and lots of people. Downton Abbey averaged weekly viewing figures in the U.K. of 11.8 million for its fourth season. That makes it the highest-rated show this year in the country. Downton Abbey is also PBS's highest-rated show, ever, based on its third season viewing figures. Unusually, the show is more or less just as popular in its home country as it is across the pond. In all, the show has been sold to over 220 territories.
Will Lady Mary continue to be insufferable? Will bad things continue to happen to members of the wealthy Crawley family (probably, if more members of the current cast decide to leave the show)? Will the questions not yet asked by American viewers of the season four plot points be answered? Downton Abbey fans now know that the answers to those questions will arrive, eventually.