"Downton Abbey" preview set to air on PBS in December

Lady Mary and Branson with the children on season 4 of "Downton Abbey." Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Fans in the U.S. will get their "Downton Abbey" fix a little earlier than expected.

PBS is preparing viewers for the show's fourth season with a preview special planned for broadcast in December.

PBS' "Masterpiece" says "Return to Downton Abbey" will air Dec. 1 with what is billed as "a tantalizing taste" of the upcoming season, which begins Jan. 5. (The new episodes are currently airing in the U.K.)

It also will look at the series' past three seasons.

Susan Sarandon serves as host for the special, a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, clips of favorite moments, and interviews with cast members. Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter and Shirley MacLaine are among the stars set to appear in the special.

"Downton Abbey," the wildly popular drama about British class and culture a century ago, will move into the Roaring Twenties in the new season.


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