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Apple pips PBS to 'Downton Abbey' series three finale in US

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Episodes from series three of Downton Abbey are to be made available on Apple's iTunes in the US before they air on PBS, in what is believed to be a first for the media platform.

Apple said today (January 15) that iTunes users in North America can purchase a season pass to Downton Abbey, enabling them to preview the final three episodes of the latest run.

Downton Abbey S03E07

© ITV



The three episodes will be available to download by these iTunes customers on January 29, but will not air on the PBS network until February 17.

Written by Julian Fellowes, the period drama has proved a huge hit in the US, with 8 million viewers tuning in to watch the finale of series two.

Series three of the show ended in the UK last November, and the First Lady Michelle Obama is said to be such a fan that she wrote to ITV to request a DVD to be sent early.

Downton Abbey - Season 3 Episode 8

© ITV



An ITV source told The Sun: "They were very polite and we were more than happy to sort out some DVDs for them to send over.

"Obviously we hope they keep the spoilers to themselves as our US fans may not know about... well, you know what!"

The second series of Downton Abbey was the best-selling TV series on iTunes last year.

Apple's deal to the series three preview episodes is said to be a first for the company, and comes amid persistent speculation over its future TV and video plans.

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