Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes recently said he’d be surprised if the show didn’t have a fourth season. But network ITV has been tight-lipped on the subject until today when it announced it has commissioned another run of the hit period drama. Filming of eight new episodes and a Christmas special for 2013 will kick off 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. He also noted that well-loved characters from above and below stairs will return along with the arrival of some new faces. The regular run of season 3 recently ended in the UK, while season 3 starts in the U.S. on January 6 on PBS. Season 3 was the highest-rated for Downton in the UK with consolidated ratings averaging 11.9M viewers for a 40% share.

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