**warning: spoiler alert***
“Downton Abbey,” the hit program that tells the lives a British family and their servants in England in 1912 has been renewed for a fourth season. The show, written and created by Oscar winner Julian Fellowes, just completed its third season on the BBC and will begin airing season three to America fans on PBS come January 2013. Production for season fourth is expected to begin in February.
Executive producer Gareth Neame said, “Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance” when the show returns to British screens next fall and to American audiences in 2014. The show is also expected to have some new faces.
Season three sees Cora Crowley’s mother, Martha Levinson, (played by the fabulous Shirley MacLaine0, arriving for the wedding of Matthew to her grand-daughter Mary. Her visit is less than pleasant as Downton faces a financial crisis that Martha may be the only one to fix. Youngest Crowley daughter Sybil is married to Tom, a young Irishman who is believed to be in part of the Irish resistance against the British. His politics is combative with his in-laws to say the least. Edith’s infatuation with a much older man causes a disagreement with the family, with her father Lord Crowley (Hugh Bonneville) questioning the man’s motives.
Downstairs in the servant’s quarters, the search for a new footman to replace Mr. Bates gets very competitive between Mrs. O’Bryan and Tom, while Daisy, the kitchen worker, goes on a one-woman strike. Bates, who is currently serving a prison term for murder, has trouble with his cellmate and is feeling the pains of being separated from his wife Anna. Anna meanwhile works day and night to prove his innocence. Also, Mrs. Hughes has a health scare and Isobel works to help the troubled women in town get back on their feet.
On 2-hour first look and season 2 recap of the show called “Downton Abbey Revisited,” will air on PBS in December before season three premieres on January 6th, 2013.
Classic TV Examiner talked to Fellowes earlier this year about his hopes for a fourth season of the show and also gave a little insight into MacLaine’s character and her relationship with Lady Violet, played by Maggie Smith, who won a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for the role. Check out the video on this page.
“Downton Abbey” stars Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Brown Findlay, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Siobhan Finneran, Joanne Froggatt, Thomas Howes, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, Rose Leslie, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Matt Milne, Lesley Nicol, Amy Nuttall, Maggie Smith, Ed Speleers, Dan Stevens and Penelope Wilton.
For the latest in entertainment news, including recaps of “Downton Abbey” and interviews with the cast and crew, follow me on Twitter @Phyllis_Thomas