Hit drama Downton Abbey has been given a fourth series, as ITV bosses warned viewers to have their “tissues ready” for the show’s Christmas tearjerker.
The channel had kept its audience of almost 12 million waiting longer than usual to confirm a further run of the Julian Fellowes-scripted show.
The eight-part run next year will again open and close with feature-length episodes. There will also be a Christmas edition.
This year’s two-hour festive episode sees the Crawley family head to a Scottish estate – filmed at Inveraray Castle – to visit cousins, against a backdrop of deer stalking and shooting in the Highlands.
However, many of their staff have remained at Downton, and dramas unfold in the family’s absence, in the episode to be shown at 9pm on Christmas Day.
ITV’s director of drama Laura Mackie said: “As ever, Downton will take its audience through a whole range of emotions.
“All of life’s experiences will feature in this episode. This is one episode you will want to see live with millions of others – and best have the tissues ready.”