The series, starring Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith, once again proved to be a ratings winner for ITV1. Reaction to Downton Abbey’s third season has also been more positive than last year’s second season which came under fire for some of its storylines and how quickly it progressed through the First World War.
According to overnight ratings data Sunday evening’s 90 minute season finale attracted 9.8 million viewers on ITV1 with an additional 240,000 watching on the broadcaster’s time-shift channel. That gives Downton Abbey a combined audience of just over 10 million viewers – a figure bound to rise once final consolidated ratings are released next week. The show will return on Christmas Day to ITV1 for its second festive outing and a fourth series is widely expected to be commissioned.
Elsewhere on Sunday evening Strictly Come Dancing once again out-rated ITV’s The X Factor. An average audience of 9.6 million viewers tuned into Strictly as James Bond actor Colin Salmon was voted off while 8.9 million viewers (with an additional 254,000 via timeshift channel) saw Kye Sones leave the ITV1 singing competition.