A ‘Downton Abbey’ Christmas — coming sooner or later

“Downton Abbey,” which is halfway through its initial, thoroughly enjoyable four-Sunday run on PBS “Masterpiece,” already has an order for a second season for the U.K.’s ITV that is set to begin production in March. On top of that, co-producers ITV and Carnival Films have just announced plans for a ‘Downton Abbey’ Christmas special that will come as a happy epilogue to the series.

PBS hasn’t officially announced plans to air any “Downton Abbey” beyond the first season, but odds seem in its favor. According to ITV, audience figures for “Downton” (created by Julian Fellowes) on PBS have been the highest on “Masterpiece” in recent years.

“Julian has come up with a fantastic story that will give the audience the chance to enjoy the experience of the festive season at ‘Downton Abbey,’ ” ITV director of drama Laura Mackie said.

In Blighty, one 2010 airing of ‘Downton’ drew ITV’s biggest audience for an original drama since 2003.

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