The fifth season of Downton drew to a close for those in the US last night, when the Christmas 2014 episode was aired. Those of us in the UK will remember that things were left in a happy place for most (it is Christmas, after all), with Carson and Mrs Hughes becoming engaged, Anna Bates being released from prison, and Tom Branson preparing to set off for a new life in the US.
Looking ahead, we know there will be a sixth season of the show, but it is looking more and more likely that this will be the last. Julian Fellowes has already announced his intentions to make a new US based period drama, Gilded Age, and now Maggie Smith has added fuel to the fire by saying she doesn’t think she will carry on too much longer.
“They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on,” Smith told The Sunday Times. “I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re into the late 1920s.”This is true, and I vividly remember Downton opening season one with the news that the Titanic had sunk, so quite the time span has taken place. Is it really conceivable that these characters haven’t aged at all?
I feel I must stress, at this point, that I do not want the Dowager Countess to be killed off, whether it be from old age or any other reason! While I love the show, I do feel that one more season is all it has left in it. Storylines are becoming a little jaded and forced, and although it is still enjoyable, ratings have fallen and I think it will be best left to rest while it is still popular.
Executive Producer of the show, Gareth Neame, didn’t add to the speculation about the show’s end when he spoke to Deadline, but he did say that he is asked the same question a dozen times a day. He also added that they would “Call time when we think the time is right.”
When asked if Allen Leech or Lily James would be in season 6, he reminded us that both characters have moved to America to start a new life, “But they are members of this family so a visit home may well happen at some time.”
Let’s hope so! Whatever the plot lines, I will certainly be tuning into Downton season 6, and if it really is the last, I will bid the show a fond farewell.
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