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Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey: Season 4

Airs Sundays, January 5 - February 23, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The cast of DOWNTON ABBEY. Season 4 of the international hit DOWNTON ABBEY finds aristocrats and servants coping with last season’s shocking finale. The acclaimed ensemble is back, including Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, and Laura Carmichael—together with returning guest star Academy Award®-winner Shirley MacLaine and new guest star Paul Giamatti.

The most-watched drama in PBS history enters its fourth gripping season with the whole world waiting to learn how the beloved characters deal with a shocking tragedy. The acclaimed ensemble is back, together with returning guest star Academy Award®-winner Shirley MacLaine and new guest star Paul Giamatti. Also joining the cast are Harriet Walter, Gary Carr, Joanna David, and Tom Cullen, as the legend continues on DOWNTON ABBEY, Season 4, airing over eight Sundays beginning with a two-hour premiere on January 5, 2014 on PBS.

Written and created by Julian Fellowes, DOWNTON ABBEY, Season 4 is a Carnival/MASTERPIECE Co-Production. Carnival is a division of NBCUniversal International Television Production. The series’ many accolades include nine Emmys®, two Golden Globes®, and a coveted Screen Actors Guild Award® for the ensemble cast.

Chat: Joanne Froggatt (Anna)

On Monday, February 4, 2013, Mrs. Bates (actress Joanne Froggatt) answered your questions on common traits she shares with Anna, her chemistry with Brendan Coyle, filming Season 3's emotional prison scenes and what's ahead for Season 4.

Chat: Allen Leech (Branson)

From the joy of receiving a 2013 Screen Actors Guild Award (Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series) to the intensity of Episode 4, DOWNTON ABBEY star Allen Leech (Tom Branson) covered it all when he joined MASTERPIECE fans for an online chat on January 28, 2013. Read the complete transcript to find out if Leech prefers life upstairs or downstairs, what he did to prepare for some of the most emotional scenes in the entire DOWNTON ABBEY series, and what might be ahead for Branson.

Which Downton Abbey Job Is Right For you?

Find out in our exclusive quiz!

Which Downton Abbey Couple Are You?

Find out which iconic couple best reflects your relationship in this quiz.

The Locations

Explore MASTERPIECE'S most iconic filming locations, including DOWNTON ABBEY'S Highclere Castle.

2014 MASTERPIECE Sweepstakes

Enter the 2014 MASTERPIECE Sweepstakes daily through March 15, 2014, for a chance to win a trip for two adults from the US or Canada to Great Britain! This 5-day, 4-night trip features a VIP reception at Highclere Castle (setting of DOWNTON ABBEY), hosted by Lord Carnarvon and Lady Carnarvon, author of "Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey." The trip also includes VIP tours of the Museum of London’s forthcoming Sherlock Holmes exhibit and the famous Selfridges & Co. department store. You will also attend the Tower of London’s evening Ceremony of the Keys and enjoy the annual “Battle Proms” concert with fireworks on the grounds of Highclere Castle. Travel must be from July 30-August 4, 2014. You may also win 1 of 4 monthly prizes—gift certificates to purchase PBS merchandise. No purchase necessary; winners will be selected by random drawing. Enter at http://www.pbs.org/sweepstakes

Replete with weddings, births, abandonment, financial reversal, sudden riches, and equally sudden deaths, Season 3 left critics spellbound. USA Today ranked it as a perfect four stars out of four. The Hollywood Reporter called it “an absolute pleasure to watch.” And The New York Times praised it as “delightful escapism.”

Ahead of the celebrated final episode—the #1 show of the night, beating all broadcast and cable competition in prime time—Newsday had this summation: “The finale of a superb season does not disappoint. Grade A(+).” “We’d follow the Crawleys off a cliff,” echoed The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Please have Carson pack us a lunch.”

The returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Lily James, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Dame Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, and a host of others, joined by Shirley MacLaine (Oscar® for Best Actress, "Terms of Endearment"), who reprises her role as Martha Levinson, the forthright American mother of Cora, Countess of Grantham (McGovern). Martha again battles wits with Cora’s wickedly acerbic mother-in-law, Violet (Smith).

Among the new faces are Paul Giamatti ("Sideways") as Cora’s playboy brother, Harold, who appears in the season finale; Dame Harriet Walter ("Little Dorrit") as Violet’s old friend Lady Shackleton; Gary Carr (DEATH IN PARADISE) as jazz singer Jack Ross; Joanna David ("Bleak House") as the Duchess of Yeovil; Tom Cullen (WORLD WITHOUT END) as the dashing Lord Gillingham, and Julian Ovenden (SMASH, "Any Human Heart") as an unexpected houseguest.

All who tuned in last season know that Matthew Crawley—heir to Downton Abbey, husband to Lady Mary (Dockery), and brand new father to a baby boy and successor—lies dead on a country road next to his overturned roadster. On top of this, the family is still grieving over the death in childbirth of Sybil, Mary’s youngest sister, who also left a baby behind.

Episode One airs Sunday, January 5 at 9 p.m. - Six months after Matthew’s death, family and servants try to cure Mary and Isobel of their deep depression. Meanwhile, O’Brien causes a final crisis.

Episode Two airs Sunday, January 12 at 9 p.m. - The fates of several characters converge at a glittering house party. Gregson impresses Robert, and Anna faces trouble.

Episode Three airs Sunday, January 19 at 9 p.m. - Love is in the air at Downton Abbey and darker emotions too, as Mary, Edith, Tom, and Anna each struggle with a dilemma.

Episode Four airs Sunday, January 26 at 9 p.m. - Can Bates learn what is troubling Anna? Meanwhile, Thomas installs a new ally, and Alfred takes up cooking.

Episode Five airs Sunday, February 2 at 9 p.m. - Rose’s surprise party for Robert risks scandal. Mary meets an old suitor, and Edith gets troubling news.

Episode Six airs Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. - When Robert and Thomas make a sudden trip, everyone’s life gets more complicated. Mary and Blake come together over pigs. An unwelcome visitor appears.

Episode Seven airs Sunday, February 16 at 9 p.m. - Robert and Thomas return from America. Bates disappears for a day. Edith prepares to go abroad. Suitors flock to Mary. And Rose makes her move.

Episode Eight airs Sunday, February 23 at 9 p.m. - Lady Rose meets the Prince of Wales and faces a dilemma. Trouble also plagues Cora’s mother and brother, Edith, and almost everyone else at Downton Abbey.

Written and created by Julian Fellowes, DOWNTON ABBEY is a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE Co-Production. The series is executive produced by Gareth Neame, Julian Fellowes and Liz Trubridge. Nigel Marchant is co-executive producer. Rupert Ryle-Hodges is the producer. The first episode is directed by David Evans. Other episodes are directed by Catherine Morshead, Philip John, Edward Hall, and Jon East.

Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer for MASTERPIECE. MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Funding for the series is provided by Viking Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future.

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter. Visit video.kpbs.org/program/masterpiece/ to watch past episodes and more from MASTERPIECE.

Downton Abbey, Season 4 Preview

A first look at scenes from Downton Abbey Season 4 on MASTERPIECE. (Downton Abbey Season 4 premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS.)

Downton Abbey, Season 4: Behind the Scenes

Writer and creator Julian Fellowes, executive producer Gareth Neame and actors Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) discuss what’s ahead for the inhabitants of Downton Abbey Season 4, premiering January 5, 2014, on PBS's MASTERPIECE.

Downton Abbey, Season 4: New Characters

Can't wait for Downton Abbey Season 4? The cast and creators of the series introduce you to some of the new arrivals -- a lord, a valet, an opera star and more! [Downton Abbey, Season 4 premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS.]

Downton Abbey, Season 4: Characters' Most Defining Moments

Downton Abbey stars Michelle Dockery (Mary), Rob-James Collier (Thomas), Laura Carmichael (Edith), Joanne Froggatt (Anna) and Elizabeth McGovern (Cora) on the events that most shaped their characters.

Downton Abbey, Season 4: Choices

Joy, jealousy, tears and tea -- Welcome to Downton Abbey Season 4! Get a taste of what's in store for favorite characters in this montage preview. Downton Abbey Season 4 premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS. [Music: "Wolf's Law" by The Joy Formidable.]

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