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Masterpiece Classic | Downton Abbey Season 5

Posted by WMHT Web Editor

Downton Abbey Season 5 Teaser

Get Your First Look at Downton Abbey Season 5

Get a first look at photos of Downton Abbey Season 5 in this slideshow of all-new images.

Downton Abbey returns for an epic fifth season of intimately interlaced stories centered on an English country estate— a deliciously entertaining formula that hasmade it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Downton Abbey, Season 5, airs Sundays, January 4 - March 1, 2015 on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

Season 5 features returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech, Robert James-Collier, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Lily James, Brendan Coyle, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Samantha Bond, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift, and Andrew Scarborough. 

This acclaimed ensemble is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter (Atonement), reprising her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan (Death at a Funeral), who returns as Lord Flintshire, together with completely new characters played by Richard E. Grant (Girls), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), and Rade Sherbedgia (24).

“Four wonderful seasons of Downton Abbey, each drawing a larger audience than the last, and now Series 5,”says MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “This is atelevision dream come true!”

Written and created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, Season 5, is a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE Co-Production. Carnival Films, headed by Downton Abbey Executive Producer Gareth Neame, is a division of NBCUniversal International Television Production. The series’ many honors include ten Emmys®, two Golden Globes®, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards®. Season 4 just received 12 Emmy® nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series.

Executive Producer Gareth Neame says, “Our cast and crew have been immersed in the world of Downton for the last five years and it is a thrill to have seen it grow in popularity in the United States to become one of the most watched shows on television. We're currently hard at work on season 5 and viewers can expect all the highs and lows, the heady mix of drama, romance and comedy and plenty of new surprises.”

Viewership and social media stats have soared since Downton Abbey launched in January 2011. Season 4 drew an average audience of 13.2 million viewers, making it the top PBS drama of all time and one of the highest-rated dramas now on American television.
Like every previous outing, Season 4 dazzled critics. The New York Times wrote that the show, “casts a spell on viewers not unlike the allure of a Harry Potter novel.” NPR chimed in, “Julian Fellowes … has crafted characters so well-rounded, so complicated, and so interesting that we’re drawn to them no matter what the circumstances.”
And Variety’s praise entered another dimension: “This annual escape into the early-20th century is an experience in time travel not to be missed.”

Viewers can expect to follow plot threads left dangling from last season, including Lady Mary’s courtship contest, Lady Edith’s trials as a secret single mom, Thomas’s scheming against Bates, Robert’s battles against modernity, Tom’s quest to be true to his ideals, Violet’s one-line zingers, and much, much more.

One of the recurring themes of Downton Abbey is change, from the wrenching consequences of the Titanic disaster in Season 1 to a notorious automobile accident at the end of Season 3—plus World War I, women’s rights, and the new morals, inventions, and fashions of the 1920s.

Which is where Season 5 kicks off. It’s 1924. The United Kingdom has its first Labor Party prime minister. The radio is the latest miracle of the age. And Downton’s traditional ways are besieged on all fronts, as evidenced by this exchange between the head housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, and the butler, Mr. Carson: 

“We’re catching up, Mr. Carson. Whether you like it or not, Downton is catching up with the times we live in,” says the forward-thinking Mrs. Hughes.

“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of!” the butler retorts.

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