Waiting for Downton Abbey Season 4 Premier: What I’ve Missed Most

Mary Dell writes: Lisa and I are among the millions of US fans who have spent the last 11 months pining for our favorite period drama. Downton Abbey Season 4 Premier is January, 5, a date already circled in red on my calendar.

Here is what I’ve missed the most during this long wait for the show to resume:

Downton Abbey cast, Downton Abbey Season 4 Premier

1. Theme Song

The gorgeous orchestration of the theme music by British composer John Lunn prepares viewers for the weekly feast of audible pleasure to come. While I have endured the wait for the program to resume, I have clicked on the YouTube recording, closing my eyes, and imagining the cast beginning to assemble at the manor house.

2. Opening Photo montage

Creator Julian Fellowes is a master of detail and the opening montage richly displays life in both the upstairs and downstairs quarters at Downton. Fellowes’ wonderful dialogue and highly textured use of period furnishings in this television production are of the caliber of feature film Gosford Park, a movie for which he wrote the script, winning a best screenplay Academy Award in 2002.

3. British History

Every Downton Abbey episode gives viewers a chance to absorb lessons in British history. The writers have already covered WWI, the influenza epidemic, the decline of the landed aristocracy, and the beginnings of the Irish Free State. Season Four is set in the Roaring twenties and a new Season Five begins production in 2014; we have much more to absorb.

4. Interior Design

I savor the details of Downton Abbey’s set design, and wonder what it would be like to live with the sweeping staircases, vaulted ceilings, and formal home furnishings. Every Sunday night I am inspired to take my own decor up a notch.

5. Parenting Lessons

Lord and Lady Grantham face challenges with their daughters and extended families that are surprisingly relatable. Watching the interpersonal dynamics presents vivid examples of parenting do’s and don’ts. The world may have changed much in the last ninety years but the challenges of parenting remain unaltered.

6. Grantham Clan

Downton has an expertly drawn cast that I love visiting every week. Fellowes made these characters real to me and I am invested in the lives of both the gilded Granthams and the downstairs help.

7. Smash Hit

Downton Abbey is a rare quality costume drama, the biggest success ever for PBS and ITV, where it is shown in the UK.  I recall watching every episode of Brideshead Revisited and Lisa fondly remember Upstairs, Downstairs. But those shows were televised in 1981 and 1971. Success like this does not come around often.

8. Gorgeous Clothes

The ladies’ period costumes are stunningly beautiful. From wedding gowns to sleeping attire, the luxurious fabrics and intricate accessories are breathtaking. Watching the show feels like playing dress-up. Just imagining the contents of the Grantham ladies’ closets makes me want to put long leather gloves and strands of pearls on my Christmas list.

9. Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie’s lines alone make the show worthwhile, and she dominates each and every scene. I lean into the TV whenever she appears to make sure I don’t miss a word (although I can count on seeing her in a Monday-morning meme with the best zinger of the previous evening.)

10. Dan Stevens’ Matthew Crawley

The hopes for happily ever after for our favorite upstairs couple ended with the Season Three finale. Though there is no doubt that Mary will thrive without Matthew, I can’t help but grieve for the what if’s in their lives together.

11. Date Night

Discovering a show that both my husband and I enjoy is a gift. On the evening of January 5, we will set a fire in the fireplace, pour two glasses of wine, and watch the Downton Abbey Season 4 Premier together. In our almost empty nest, watching this favorite show together has become our date night. I am counting the days until it returns.



  1. Emily says

    I too can’t wait! I had never watched the show, but after Season 3 and hearing everyone talk about it over and over and over, I finally had to see what all the fuss was about…I watched all 3 seasons on my iPad in about a month!!

  2. says

    Oh, how I miss Downton Abbey as well! Will miss seeing Matthew’s gorgeous and tortured face every week. And don’t you wish you had Dame Maggie whispering in your ear whenever anybody tosses a snarky remark your way?

  3. says

    Agreed! Can’t wait! And it’s become something I do with my oldest daughter, which has been both sweet and interesting. We get to snuggle up, admire the beautiful look of it all, and I get to explain any number of important topics in a way that doesn’t feel like a lecture. For season four we may add popcorn to the mix. (Just hope we’re not crying so much this time around.)

    • says

      How nice that you and your daughter share this and I can see how important topics you discuss from the show can be broached without any preachiness. Great point.

  4. says

    I am alone in watching Downton in my house, but I look forward to it nonetheless. My husband and I watch The Good Wife together (when he can stay awake) and I look forward to that each week. It’s been amazing this season!

    • says

      The Good Wife has gotten lots of good press. Glad that you and your husband have that to watch together. Maybe you can convert him to joining you for DA.

  5. Carpool Goddess says

    Looking forward to it! Love that it’s your date night :)

  6. says

    You should check out Call the Midwife. I am a huge Downton Abbey fan but Call the Midwife might have swayed me even more!

  7. says

    I was new to Downton Abbey last year and, thanks to marathon viewing on Amazon Prime Instant Video, I got all caught up just in time for the tragic season 3 finale. I’m not a history buff, not even a tiny bit, but I absolutely love this show! I’m still working on convincing my husband he would like it. He IS a history buff. This show is right up his alley!

  8. Hellois says

    In the beginning I thought I was alone viewing this wonderful show! I was browsing channels searching for something to watch and discovered this treasure. Although I am aware of its imperfections, I am completely enthralled and will remain an avid watcher until the end!!! I’m impatiently waiting for next sunday!

  9. Harriet says

    When does the season 4 soundtrack come out?


  1. […] Season four premiers here in the US on January 5, but the filming of season five is set to begin in England, shortly. Fellowes has said he will not let the show run endlessly. “What we don’t want,” Fellowes said, “is to go too far ahead and have the actors doing wobbly stick acting with talcum powder in their hair.” […]