So has Britain really started to tire of “Downton Abbey“? Season 4 is the first time since the series’ inception that we have not seen the ratings surge on ITV, but at the same time, we’re not necessarily looking at a situation here where the numbers just fell out of the sky and the show was undeserving of that fifth-season renewal. (Warning: Spoilers ahead if you have not seen the season 4 finale!)
Overall, 9.8 million people in Britain watched the show last night to see Michelle Dockery’s Mary struggling with choosing between two suitors, or Brendan Coyle’s Bates possibly find himself in hot water over the death of Mr. Green. This was the most-watched edition of the entire season, and one of the series’ best outings overall. The most astounding number here is that this was a 40% share of the market of people in Britain who were actually watching TV at the time in which it was on. Just to put that into some perspective, it would take more than 40 million viewers to achieve that same thing in America last night.
Overall, the numbers for season 4 were down slightly from the 9.7 million on average who watched season 3, but given that the lost a beloved actor in Dan Stevens as well as Jessica Brown Findlay, that is a pretty good retention. With that being said, we still think that it would be in the show’s best interest to close the abbey doors next fall, and quit the series while they are ahead and it can go out with a bang rather than a whimper. Also, you want to end it before everyone else has a chance to leave. (We’re a major proponent for ending a series before it gets near its expiration date.)
Do you think that ITV should really be doing cartwheels over this rating, even if their network is continually trounced these days by “Strictly Come Dancing”? Be sure to share your thoughts with a comment below, and also click here if you have yet to see our full review for last night’s “Downton Abbey” season finale.