Downton Abbey series 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began

An average 8.4m viewers tuned in to watch the Grantham family's return

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The Independent Culture

Downton Abbey has received its lowest ratings for an opening episode since the series began in 2010.

The return of the period drama, which debuted on ITV last night, drew an average audience of 8.43 million.

The figure is the drama’s lowest for an opening episode since 2010, when its first ever episode attracted 7.69 million viewers.

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Downton Abbey attracted 9.51 million viewers for its opening episode last year, an increase of almost half a million from the 9.02 million who tuned in to watch the season premiere in 2012.

An average 9.2 million watched the opening episode of Julian Fellowes’ drama in 2011.

The hit period drama is to feature a number of guest celebrity appearances this year, including Anna Chancellor, who last night starred as an aristocratic guest preying on young footman Jimmy Kent; Richard E Grant and George Clooney.

 

Fellowes has yet to indicate when the drama may end. Hugh Bonneville, who stars as the Earl of Grantham, said earlier this month he thought the scriptwriter would “quit while he’s ahead”.

The British drama remains popular in the US, where it has become PBS’s most-viewed television series ever.

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