While “Downton Abbey” may be by a wide margin the most-popular British import in America and also some other parts of the world, it is in some ways curious given that there are many series at this point more popular with viewers across the pond. As a matter of fact, it’s very likely that the ITV drama will deliver better figures in the United States than in Britain; while that would make sense in theory given that the U.S. population is substantially larger, it rarely actually happens.
Overall, the special, which we personally felt was well-made but also way longer than it really needed to be, drew around seven million viewers on the night. What worked against it was that it aired a little later in the evening than many other shows, and viewers might have either wanted to sleep or stay away from something that basically ruined Christmas for many last year after killing off Matthew.
In the end, “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” won the night with close to 9.5 million viewers, but “Downton Abbey” also lost to the likes of “Doctor Who” and “Coronation Street” (both with 8.3 million), “EastEnders” (7.8 million), “Strictly Come Dancing” (7.3 million), and even “Call the Midwife” (7.1 million), a show that the success of the period drama may have helped to launch. For the time being, though, the ratings for many of these specials do not matter too much. We know already that “Downton Abbey” is coming back for a fifth season premiering on ITV in the new year, and that alone is worth celebrating. Filming will start in the matter of months in the UK, and there will probably be some more talk about casting and other details in the weeks ahead.
Do you think that “Downton Abbey” is officially on the way down, or do you really feel like it’s better not to read much into Christmas ratings? Share below, and click here if you want to sign up for our newsletter.