Tissues at ready for Downton
Eight new episodes and a Christmas special of the enormously popular period drama 'Downton Abbey' have been commissioned to be aired in autumn 2013.
Filming will begin on the eagerly awaited fourth series in February.
In keeping with the last series, the run will be bookended by feature-length episodes and the story will continue to follow the Crawley family and their servants in the early 1920s.
The show's producers have promised that familiar characters will join new faces for the latest series.
Executive producer Gareth Neame said: "Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance."
Laura Mackie, director of drama at ITV, said: "We're thrilled to welcome back a drama series that has become a much anticipated part of all our lives every autumn and achieved success around the globe.
"Creator, writer and executive producer Julian Fellowes and the production team, led by Gareth and the producer Liz Trubridge, never rest on their laurels and have exciting plans for the fourth series."
This year, a two-hour Christmas special will be screened at 9pm on Christmas Day on ITV1.
"This is one episode you will want to see live with millions of others – and best have the tissues ready," said Ms Mackie. (© Daily Telegraph, London)