The lure of a posh English country house and all-star cast has proved irresistible to more than 100 countries who have snapped up the rights to ITV1’s Downton Abbey.

The smash-hit drama, which starred Dame Maggie Smith and had a budget of £8million, will rake in a huge profit after nations flocked to buy the seven-part series.

Even Germany wanted the drama – which is set in 1912 and documents the build-up to the First World War.

Other countries to purchase the period piece, written by Julian Fellowes, include the US, Canada, Israel, Japan, Poland, and Middle East.

Producer Gareth Neame, of Carnival Productions, said the drama’s appeal lies in its soap-style plots about love, lust and power.

“It’s translates well because it’s more soapy than other costume dramas. It’s a very human experience.”

The second series has gone into production and will hit UK screens in the autumn.

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