A press kit was released today which is available online. (Via Missy.) It contains beautiful color photos (be sure to scroll to the end), hints about plot developments, and previews of the DVD and soundtrack CD.
There will also be a book, THE WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY, which is currently available for preorder from Amazon UK (September release) or Amazon in the U.S. (December release).
The DVD will be released in the UK within days of the final airdate. There will also be a boxed set released of Series 1 and 2.
Hmmmm...for Series 1 I've been debating between the Region 1 DVD set or the Region 2 DVD which contains deleted scenes and two commentary tracks not included in the U.S. release. (*Why* did the U.S. not receive the full set of extras?!)
Perhaps I should order the complete series on Region 2 this fall...which would mean I could watch it before it airs here. I wonder if there are any restrictions on shipping Season 2 to the U.S. before it airs here?
This reminds me of early HARRY POTTER days when the books were released in the UK prior to the United States; when my oldest daughter was 10 I had to order HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN direct from England so she wouldn't have to wait to read it!
It's rather tempting to see if four months can be cut from the wait to watch the next part of the DOWNTON saga unfold. (Update: Missy points out in the comments that by the time the show finishes airing in the UK and the DVDs are out, it will be closer to the time the show begins airing in the U.S. than I'd calculated!)
Postscript: As I was wondering last weekend, it appears that the rumor Angela Lansbury was in the new series did not come to pass, unless she's a surprise guest star!
Update: Missy is linking to UK news coverage of today's media blitz.