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Downton Abbey to return for second series

Downton Abbey

Story by Jack Foley

A SECOND series of Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey has been commissioned, ITV has confirmed.

The costume drama, starring Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggatt, has proved to be a big Sunday night hit with viewers, attracting an average of 8.8 million people for its pilot in September.

A delighted ITV said that it is the most successful new drama on any channel since Whitechapel launched in 2009.

The drama also broke the record for a single episode viewing on ITV’s online catch-up service.

As such, eight more episodes have been commissioned, which will be shown next year (2011).

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

Read our review of the first episode or our interview with Joanne Froggatt