The makers of the popular drama Downton Abbey have confirmed the sixth series of the programme will be the last. Reports had previously indicated that the programme, which began airing in 2010, would finish airing on ITV after the forthcoming series.
In a statement, Gareth Neame, Executive Producer of Downton, said it was the right time for the programme to come to an end.
“We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans,” Neame said. “We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up.”
A global smash
Downton has been a smash hit on British television since its debut on ITV in 2010, and became a hit internationally following its debut in the UK. With the chronicling of the events of characters including Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Isobel Crawley and the Dowager Countess, as well as Mr Carson, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Padmore and Thomas Barrow, and the relationships between the Grantham Family and downstairs, the period drama has become one of the UK’s most well-known dramas.
Julian Fellowes, the Executive Producer, Creator, and Writer of Downton, who is currently in the process of writing a new series for US television, said the response was extraordinary.
“People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea,” Fellowes said. “Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain. But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience.”
Movie in the future?
Internationally, it gained a significant audience in the United States, where it became the most popular drama as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series, (according to a statement from WGBH, the PBS station in Boston, Mass.,) which produces Masterpiece for PBS. It was also nominated for 51 Emmy awards, the most for a British programme in the awards’ history.
In a statement, Rebecca Eaton, the Executive Producer of Masterpiece, said Downton Abbey was a game changer for the series.
“Downton Abbey has been a television executive’s dream come true: a beautifully-made, returning series that captures a nation’s attention and becomes a household name. It’s been a game-changer for Masterpiece,” Eaton said. “We are indebted to our UK partners for making a show which will go down in television history, not just for its impeccable writing, acting and production values, but most importantly, for its enormously warm-hearted audience appeal.”
Fans took to Twitter to pay tribute to Downton just after the news broke.
— Downton Abbey (@DowntonAbbey) March 26, 2015
Thank you @DowntonAbbey for many years worth of reasons to be closer to family and friends. Our Sunday nights will never be the same. ❤️
— Courtney Bates (@courtneymbates) March 26, 2015
Loved watching @DowntonAbbey! Sad it is coming to an end. Loved every episode from the very start to the very finish.
— Luke Thorne (@LittleLuke1) March 26, 2015
In spite of the end of the programme, there had been rumours of a potential Downton movie. Reached by email, a spokesperson for Downton’s producers said that it was something that was being considered.
For the moment however, viewers will have to stay tuned to the final series to see how all the storylines conclude.
— Masterpiece PBS (@masterpiecepbs) March 26, 2015
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