‘Downton Abbey’ Future Uncertain Says Creator Julian Fellowes

Credit: ITV

It’s the question on every fans lips, will we still get more of our favourite period drama?

The good news is that there’ll definitely be a sixth series, however from there, the writers are unsure.

Series 5 has already aired in the UK, along with the usual Christmas special, and the US are just now receiving the latest episodes. We get to see Lady Mary’s relationship choices, a suitor for Rose, and Lady Edith’s secrets surfacing. But the challenge of anything is to keep it interesting writer Julian Fellowes told The Hollywood Reporter, which makes us wonder if there can still be more to Downton, or will the ideas finally run out? It is rather rare nowadays for a TV show to last so many years, unless it’s a soap opera of course.

Fellowes says there are running themes for each series, and that “the theme of the fifth series is that the changing world has finally made it over the park wall and is encroaching on the house, and they are all, in their different ways, finding that they’re living in 20th century instead of the 19th.” He does continue to emphasise the importance of interest, and suggests that without these themes creating interesting storylines, they become irrelevant. He also admits to making sure that each character gets a decent story every 2-3 episodes so that none are left out or overpowered by others. I think that’s one of the beautiful things about Downton Abbey, that as a viewer, the downstairs characters are just as crucial as the ones upstairs.

Each character grows with the changing times of each series, and this is probably most prominent in this latest fifth series. Fellowes describes the developments of Mary and Edith to The Hollywood Reporter:

“I think in the show, you can see Mary was always pretty strong, but she’s taking control of her own life, and Edith, who is very conventional and if nothing had changed, would just have married “Lord Some or Other” from down the road and that would have been the end of her, but as it is, the changes that have come about have wrought a great change in her life. And now, I think it’s debatable whether or not she’d be happy if nice ‘Lord Thing’ turned up and proposed.”

As a sixth series has just been confirmed, it will be incredibly exciting to see how existing characters continue to thrive and grow, and as series 5 says goodbye to some of them (no spoilers), there may even be chance to see some new faces.

ITV’s director of drama commissioning Steve November told The Hollywood Reporter, “It is fantastic that Downton continues to be such a phenomenon — still the most popular drama on ITV in its fifth series — and we are thrilled to have commissioned a sixth series. We don’t know yet what Julian has planned, but we are looking forward to working with him, the fantastic cast and Carnival again and have no doubt series six will be unmissable.”

Julian Fellowes himself said that he just takes it year by year, unlike American TV shows that have to be booked out for however many years in advance. “I think one does have a sort of sense of when it’s going to be time to call it quits and where they’ll all be when that time comes” he said. But “I don’t know when the end will be, but I do know it won’t go on for 20 years.”

Really I think any fan is grateful for the amount of well written series we have already been given, and with something as loved as Downton Abbey, it would be a shame to see it continued for the sake of it. Better to end on a high, than a low. But however long it lasts, America can start enjoying season 5, and us Brits can start getting excited over the promised sixth series.