The fourth series of Downton Abbey launched with its biggest ratings for a series premier yet.
The Julian Fellowes drama certainly delivered the ratings goods for ITV on Sunday evening even though it failed to pick up any Emmy awards in America last night. Downton Abbey was nominated for Best Drama with actors Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Dame Maggie Smith all nominated for gongs as well but all lost out.
However, the cast of Downton Abbey can rest assured their place at the top of the drama ratings remains secure. According to overnight ratings last night’s series opener – set six months after the Christmas Special and death of Matthew (Dan Stevens) had 9.5 million viewers. That’s half a million more viewers than the series two and three premiers.
Unsurprisingly Downton Abbey’s ratings eclipsed those of BBC One’s new drama series By Any Means. The thriller starring Warren Brown and Gina McKee launched with 4.1 million viewers. BBC One has struggled with the Sunday 9pm slot of late with The White Queen and What Remains pulling in lacklustre ratings.
The X Factor was the top-rated show of the day with 9.8 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm which means the majority of the audience stuck around for Downton Abbey at 9pm. The tenth series of the X Factor has marked a revival in fortunes for the ITV series which some are putting down to the return of Sharon Osbourne.