Downton Abbey Season 4 preview gets rave reviews

The cast of Downton Abbey Series 4 Credit: ITV

Members of the national press have seen a preview of the first episode of Downton Abbey Series 4 and many have taken the opportunity to give it rave reviews.

The show will return to ITV 1 in the Autumn with the first episode set in 1922, six months after the death of Matthew Crawley in a car accident, which was revealed in last year's Christmas episode.

Read: Downton creator found the death of lead character 'testing'

View: New photos from Downton Abbey Series 4

View: Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2013

The hit series is filmed at Highclere Castle in Berkshire Credit: PA/PA Wire

The Telegraph writes that fans won't be disappointed by the personal dramas that develop between the servants and the family in Series 4. Neil Midgley says that the series doesn't feel as rushed as Series 3 which included the entirety of World War 1.

Lady Mary with her mother and sister Edith Credit: ITV

The Daily Mail says the opening episode of Series 4 marks a return to form for Downton Abbey, and hints at rumours of romance for the widowed Lady Mary. As producer Gareth Neame told reporters "Lady Mary isn't interested in men but men are interested in her".

Find out more about the new cast members of Downton Abbey

Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey Credit: ITV

The Guardian praises the performance of Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess for raising the spirit of episode 1 as the rest of the cast are still in mourning for the death of the heir to Downton.

Read: Downton stars reflect on Emmy success

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa named her dog Abbey after the hit show Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Times (£) has an interview with the opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who stars in Series 4. The singer who performed at the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana told the paper she was "up all night" before appearing in the show.

"I can’t sleep for something like this. It was a long day, but I made it longer by staying up all night" she said. Dame Kiri so enjoyed performing in the show she named her dog Abbey in its honour.

Read: Downton Abbey returns in the Autumn.

Downton Abbey returns in the Autumn Credit: ITV