New York : Downton Abbey fans have shelled out hundreds of pounds to join its stars at a charity ball tonight . The success of the show, which finishes this Christmas, has spawned a mass of merchandise from candles to cups, cushions and even a college course. Tonight’s audience, who have paid £500 for ti ckets to the event at London’s Savoy Hotel, will see stars including Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, put on a cabaret show while Jim Carter, who plays butler Mr Carson, will host an auction of items, including a signed script of the first ever episode.

 Other stars expected to mingle with fans at t onight’s event, in aid of homeless charity Shelter, include Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, who play Lord and Lady Grantham, and Laura Carmichael, who plays their daughter Lady Edith.