AFP

WASHINGTON-Americans rekindle their peculiar love affair with the post-Edwardian demise of English aristocracy on Sunday when season four of ‘Downton Abbey’ premieres on US public television.

The internationally-acclaimed British period drama set in a grand old Yorkshire country estate is seen in about 100 countries around the world - but nowhere does it enjoy the kind of cult following it has in the United States. More than 24 million Americans watched season three last year, making it the most-watched drama ever on the commercial-free PBS network, and more than double the 11.8 million Britons who’ve already caught season four on ITV.

From coast to coast, ‘Downtonians’ will be at the edge of their chesterfields, keen to see what’s next for the Crawleys in 1920 after the unexpected deaths of two beloved young members of the patrician family.

Many will watch at home, of course. Others will flock to ‘Downton Abbey’ viewing parties where they might nibble on crab canapes or chicken and mushroom pie prepared from recipes in ‘The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.’