Ahead of the debut of the new season of "Downton Abbey" on on January 5, 2014, PBS is premiering "Return To Downton Abbey." The program savors fond memories from the past three seasons and offers a tantalizing taste of Season 4 from the series The New York Times called "an instant classic."
"Return To Downton Abbey" will be hosted by Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, who is a devoted fan of the series and admires the writing of fellow Oscar winner Julian Fellowes. The program includes a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with creators and cast members, and video clips of favorite moments. "Return To Downton Abbey" premieres Sunday, December 1 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS.
"We invite viewers to dive back into the Roaring Twenties as excitement for the new season continues to grow," said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. "This special shines a light on the most compelling aspects of 'Downton Abbey' and previews the intriguing things to come."
"Downton Abbey" has captivated viewers worldwide, each season building on the love affair with the series that began three years ago. Over the years audiences have witnessed the Crawley family gripped by wrenching social change, romantic intrigues and personal crises. Last season saw the family experience great joy and profound sadness, leaving viewers to ponder these and other questions:
· How will Lady Mary cope now that Matthew is gone? Will she find love again?
· How will cousin Rose affect the social order at the majestic English country estate?
· What's in store for Anna and Bates?
· How does Branson adjust to his new role as agent of the estate?
"Return To Downton Abbey" explores "The Changing World of Downton Abbey," "The Women of Downton Abbey," and "Love and Other Relationships at Downton Abbey." Cast members interviewed include Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Shirley MacLaine, Sophie McShera and Laura Carmichael.
Interviews with creator and writer Julian Fellowes and executive producer Gareth Neame provide an overview and context for the series and the upcoming season, which is sure to include more drama, rivalry, intrigue, jealousy, ambition and romance. Also interviewed is Rebecca Eaton, Masterpiece executive producer, who comments on the phenomenal success of "Downton Abbey" in America.