Fans of Downton Abbey have had their first chance to see a glimpse of the fourth series, as the trailer debuted on Saturday night.

The preview was screened between the end of the channel’s new dance show Stepping Out, and the start of the tenth series of The X Factor.

And although it gave away little, it did offer a glimpse of returning favourites including Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery – with the latter still in mourning as she attempts to get over Matthew Crawley’s shock death.

The clip also offered an advance look at some of the series newcomers including Gary Carr – who plays the show’s first major black character, jazz singer Jack Ross – and Nigel Harman as valet Mr Green.

As the trailer debut rumours began to circulate that the series would return to screens on Sunday September 22 – although this has yet to be confirmed by ITV.

The series will also feature a host of other newcomers, including actors Julian Ovenden and Paul Giamatti, and Welsh actor Tom Cullen as the dashing Lord Gillingham.

Opera diva Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is also due to make an appearance as a house guest at Downton.

The show was last on screens at Christmas when viewers were left stunned by Matthew Crawley’s unexpected demise, following actor Dan Stevens’ decision to quit.