The fifth season goings-on at the Grantham estate won’t reach U.S. shores until January, but Downton Abbey concluded its fifth run in the UK on Sunday night with 8.29M viewers watching. The last installment of Season 5 (ahead of the annual Christmas special) picked up a 35.8% share. The numbers are down markedly from Season 4, whose final episode drew 9.8M viewers in the overnights last year with a 40.2% share on ITV. That was the top-rated Season 4 episode. In general this season, Downton has experienced a ratings decline, although it’s been well-received by critics.
The period drama kicked off during an unseasonably warm September with 8.43M viewers and a 38% share for the first episode. Those were the lowest such figures for a debut since the series launch episode in 2010. Overall, Season 5’s consolidated figures show an average 10.4M viewers through Thursday. That’s compared to 2013’s 11.8M average viewers. Despite the declines, the Julian Fellowes-created show remains a huge draw and was recently renewed for a 6th season by ITV.
Masterpiece starts showing Season 5 on January 4 in the U.S. where Downton strongly increased during Season 4 last year with the premiere episode pulling in 10.2M viewers, a 22% uptick from the Season 3 debut and a series high for the show at the time. The S4 finish last February then drew an overnight average of 8.5M, itself a high for a finale.