Downton Abbey’s Series 4 Premiere Draws Best-Ever UK Ratings

Downton Abbey's new season premiered Sunday night with its best-ever UK viewing figures for a series opener and averaged 9.5 million viewers

Downton Abbey‘s new season premiered Sunday night with its best-ever UK viewing figures for a series opener and averaged 9.5 million viewers.

UK audiences are still invested in the joys, trials and tribulations of the Crawleys judging from Sunday night’s eager audience tune-in for the series 4 premiere of the period drama from Julian Fellowes.

The ITV show drew an average audience of 9.5 million overnight viewers, taking in almost 40 per cent of Sunday night’s TV audience and peaking at 10.5 million viewers – although The X Factor still came out on top with an average of 9.8 million viewers.

Downton‘s series three debut, which saw the wonderfully snobby Dowager Countess, Dame Maggie Smith, facing off against Martha Levinson, played by Shirley Maclaine, took in an average of 9 million overnight viewers, reaching a peak of 9.6 million.

The series four premiere episode, which ran for 90 minutes (instead of its usual hour-long slot), was set six months after the death of Cousin Matthew and had us sobbing into our hankies as it focused on a gloomy Lady Mary struggling to come to terms with her grief.

Lady Mary’s real-life alter-ego, Michelle Dockery, wowed across the pond in Prada at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, although she failed to snag the golden statuette for best actress (Homeland‘s Claire Danes took home the prize).

Downton Abbey lost out in 11 of its 12 categories (the show won Outstanding Music Composition) at Sunday’s Emmy Awards… but we think the show is still a winner.

Will you be tuning in to the new series?

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