'Downton Abbey' Season 3 pictures and scoop from creator Julian Fellowes

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mary-matthew-downton-abbey-season-3-dan-stevens-michelle-dockery.jpgWhile the U.S. fans of "Downton Abbey" still have months to wait for the January 2013 return of their favorite period drama, the U.K. fans only have a few more weeks. Which means at least States-side fans can enjoy the pictures and interviews ITV (the U.K. company behind "Downton") releases for public consumption.

Here are nine new photos of Season 3, along with some scoop on the third season from creator Julian Fellowes.

"Gradually over the next two decades many houses were let go, and by the 40s and 50s it really was the coup de grace for that way of life. So the 20s and 30s always strike me as being a rather nebulous, febrile period," says Fellowes, speaking of the era in which Season 3 is set. "In some ways it was very exciting - there were all the new dances, aeroplanes and movies, and more and more people having cars and so on. But in another way it was also full of fear because nobody quite knew what the new world would be."

Fellowes also touches on why he thinks the show has been such a hit with audiences.

"I think on the whole there is a kind of decency about the morality of Downton. All these people, really, from the kitchen maid to the Earl, are trying to do their best," says Fellowes. "That is something that the writer needs to serve."

"Then there is a balance between funny, trivial plots and really serious, life plots. You have to get that right. It's like a see-saw - you're trying to nudge it this way and that to get both of those reasonably evenly represented," he continues. "

"Finally a temptation of all series is to bring in new characters and give them the interesting
stories because essentially you've played out the old ones," Fellowes finishes. "That is a temptation that must be resisted - you must continue to give real stories to the long running characters or otherwise you water down the spine of the show."

"Downton Abbey" returns in the U.S. Jan. 5, 2013.
Photo/Video credit: ITV