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AETN to host free season 5 preview screenings for 'Downton Abbey' on 'Masterpiece'

Posted 21 Nov 2014

The award-winning "Masterpiece" series "Downton Abbey" returns for an epic fifth season of intimately interlaced stories centered on an English country estate – a deliciously entertaining formula that has made it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. The Arkansas PBS (AETN) will host free Season 5 preview screenings in Fayetteville and Little Rock during December.

Northwest Arkansas fans are invited to a screening Sunday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. at the Fayetteville Public Library, 401 West Mountain Street. Two additional screenings will be held at the Arkansas Arts Center, 501 East 9th Street, Little Rock, Thursday, Dec. 18, at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m.

The events will include receptions, period costume contests and door prizes. Costumes are strongly encouraged but not required. The screenings are free and open to the public, and seating is limited. Anyone planning to attend is encouraged to RSVP at or by calling 1-800-662-2386.

The Fayetteville event is sponsored, in part, by Savoy Tea Company and KUAF National Public Radio.

Viewers can expect to follow plot threads left dangling from last season, including Lady Mary's courtship contest, Lady Edith's trials as a secret single mom, Thomas's scheming against Bates, Robert's battles against modernity, Tom's quest to be true to his ideals, Violet's one-line zingers, and much, much more.

One of the recurring themes of "Downton Abbey" is change, from the wrenching consequences of the Titanic disaster in Season 1 to a notorious automobile accident at the end of Season 3 – plus World War I, women's rights, and the new morals, inventions and fashions of the 1920s.

Which is where Season 5 kicks off. It's 1924. The United Kingdom has its first Labor Party prime minister. The radio is the latest miracle of the age. And Downton's traditional ways are besieged on all fronts.

"Downton Abbey: Season 5" will premiere Sunday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. on AETN.

Written and created by Julian Fellowes, "Downton Abbey: Season 5" is a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE co-production. Carnival Films, headed by "Downton Abbey" Executive Producer Gareth Neame, is a division of NBCUniversal International Television Production. The series' many honors include ten Emmys, two Golden Globes and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Season 4 received 12 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series.

The Arkansas PBS (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit, or follow the AETN blog at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).