ITV orders second series of 'Downton Abbey'

Carnival Films, PBS Masterpiece lavish period drama

LONDON -- ITV has ordered up eight more episodes of its lavish hit period drama "Downton Abbey," the Julian Fellowes-scripted co-production between Carnival Films and PBS Masterpiece that has wowed Sunday night audiences.

"Abbey" the pre-World War I drama which follows the adventures of the upper class Grantham family as well as their below-stairs servants, is a "Gosford Park" style country house drama with a cast including Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, and Brendan Coyle,

The drama has picked up audience share since its debut Sept. 26th, when it debuted with a total audience exceeding 11.6 million including repeats and catch-up viewing and an audience share of 32% on transmission.

Episode two totaled 11.8 million in ratings.

Gareth Neame, managing director of the NBC Universal-owned Carnival Productions, said the show had "captured the imagination" of viewers.