Timing ‘Downton Abbey’

There has been massive confusion regarding the size of “Downton Abbey,” which occurred since its seven episodes in England but cut down to four 90-minute episodes for use on “Masterpiece Classic” in the U.S.

“Masterpiece Theatre” got all of the UK action except for about 20 to 25 minutes, show producer Rebecca Eaton said.

“It had to do with adverts. It also had to do with tightening to fit the time. We had four weeks to edit it in,” she said in a session at the TV Critics Press Tour. “We didn’t chop it up to try to make it more palatable for the dummies in the American audience as it was implied” in the British press.

Those 20 minutes or so can be found on the DVD, though Eaton said the most careful viewer would be hard-pressed to define what exactly had been cut.

There will be no such cuts for the upcoming second series of “Downton Abbey,” starting Jan. 8, though the eight episodes premiering in the BBC this fall, will be reduced to seven through editing. (Episodes one and two will be presented as a two hour premiere).

“You’ll get every minute of the British version,” Eaton says.

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