Downton Abbey gets the go ahead for a fourth series

Downton Abbey

ITV have confirmed Downton Abbey will get a fourth series in autumn 2013.

Filming of eight new episodes plus an extended special episode for Christmas will begin in February next year.

Executive Producer Gareth Neame said there will be some new faces as well as popular characters returning.

"Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance."

Series four will continue the story of the Crawley family and their servants in the early 1920s

The drama is filmed at Highclere Castle on the Hampshire-Berkshire border and Ealing Studios in West London.

This year there will be another Christmas special broadcast at 9pm on December 25th.

It sees Lord and Lady Grantham and family heading for a summer break in The Highlands of Scotland, leaving most of their servants back at home.

Last year's festive special attracted the biggest audience on Christmas Day, with 11.59 million viewers beating EastEnders' figure of 11.33 million

ITV say ratings for the whole of series three averaged out at 11.9 million people.