For the past five years we have been eagerly following the trials and tribulations of the Crawley family and their staff. We’ve stuck with them through death, scandal, marriage, babies and heartbreak but now it seems as though creator Julian Fellowes might be ready to bid Downton Abbey goodbye.
According to The Mirror, a source says Downton will end after its sixth season, with cast members using their recent trip to LA for the Screen Actors Guild Awards to meet with agents and directors regarding roles in the US.
“Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer,” the source said. “Some are interested in the US, where Downton is as popular as it is in the UK.
“Joanne Froggatt, [Laura] Carmichael and Allen Leech were in Los Angeles for the awards last week and there were several meetings about both TV and film roles.”This news can hardly come as a surprise. Julian Fellowes has already announced his intention to start work on Gilded Age, a new period drama set in New York. It would be almost impossible for Fellowes to juggle writing for two dramas, and on differing sides of the Atlantic too, In fact, last year Fellowes told the Wall Street Journal that he wouldn’t start work on Gilded Age until he was done with Downton.
It also sounds as though he is ready to move on, if his statement at the National Television Awards is anything to go by.
“I am interested to do another series because Downton was the first series I’d ever written.
“Now I feel I know much more about the game. I suppose there is something interesting about the idea of going on and using it somewhere else.”
As for the cast, they are so stellar and stand out that it is hardly a surprise that Hollywood has come calling. Hugh Bonneville is, of course, a renowned actor and no one need ever worry about the formidable Dame Maggie Smith or Penelope Wilton being out of work.
Lily James is about to become the belle of the ball in Disney’s new live action Cinderella movie, and Sophie McShera, who plays kitchen maid Daisy in Downton, will also be joining her on screen as step sister Drizella.
Allen Leech (Branson) has also found success already, in Oscar nominated film The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Michelle Dockery, Downton’s Lady Mary Crawley, has spoken before of her desire to work in the US, saying “It feels as though there are more opportunities for us over there. “I love spending time there.”
Could she be joining the late Matthew Crawley, Dan Stevens, in blockbuster film appearances?
Though I would be very sad to see it go, there comes a natural ending time for long running shows, and I do think the time might be right for Downton to retire gracefully from our screens. As much as I adore the show, it has passed its peak and though still a great watch, if it were to continue it would fizzle out in a damp squib, and the Crawley’s deserve better.
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