downton abbey season 4 cast 'Downton Abbey' Season 4 premiere ratings big in the U.K.“Downton Abbey” is off to a big start in the U.K. The fourth season premiere earned 9.5 million viewers on ITV Sunday (Sept. 22), which is the best debut for the show ever, besting the Season 3 premiere by half a million viewers.

The 9.5 million viewers is good for drawing nearly 40 percent of the British television audience and the premiere peaked at 10.5 million, says ITV. The figures do include ITV1+1, which is a sister network that re-airs the episode an hour later.

These numbers are on par with the U.S. viewership, which set a PBS ratings record with the broadcast of its third season.

If you’d like to find out just what is going on with the Crawley family and its staff in the Season 4 premiere, read our recap here.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."