ITV commissions Season 4 of Downton Abbey

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Britain’s ITV is commissioning a fourth season of Downton Abbey, it announced on Friday. Filming of the eight new episodes begins at Highclere Castle and Ealing Studios in February 2013.

The costume drama now runs in some 200 countries, according to ITV.

Downton has a whole life beyond the episodes themselves,” said Gareth Neame, managing director of Carnival Films, the show’s producer, in the announcement. “It has leapt out of the television set and become part of both the national and global conversation. It is now part of culture and society and that’s a very different experience for all of us involved in making the show.”

Season 3 premieres on PBS on Jan. 6.

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