Since premiering in the U.K. in 2010, Downton Abbey has become a favorite among critics and casual TV viewers alike. The show follows the wealthy Crowley family and their estate, the titular Downton Abbey, throughout the early 20th century. The series has won multiple Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globes - most recently, the series' Joanne Froggatt was awarded Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2015 Golden Globes.
Despite its critical success, recent reports claimed the series would conclude with its upcoming sixth season. Now, executive producer Gareth Neame confirmed that season 6 of Downton Abbey would be the show's last.
USA Today is reporting that Neame announced the finale of Downton Abbey during a telephone news conference today. He said he made the decision along with creator/writer Julian Fellowes, the cast, and crew. According to Neame, the end of the series was decided due to timing rather than cast contracts (which are set to end after season 6) or a dip in the U.K. ratings.
Read Neame's full quote:
"Our feeling is it's good to quit while we're ahead. The show is in incredibly strong shape... The danger is to let it go on forever... eight, nine, 10 years. We wanted to end when the time is right, so that people will love it for years to come and not feel there's a drop-off, and we've not outstayed our welcome."
The sixth and final season of Downton Abbey will consist of nine episodes running 11 hours that will conclude this year in the U.K. at Christmas. As has been the case with previous seasons of Downton Abbey, season 6 won't premiere in the U.S. until early 2016.
Though Downton Abbey won't see a seventh season, there is a possibility the story will continue in another way. Rather than a spinoff series, Neame said he and Fellowes are working on a possible Downton Abbey movie:
"Our position is that we would be very interested in that, it's something we're contemplating, it would be great fun to do. I can't confirm it's definitely going to happen but we shall see. If we can get all our ducks in row..."
Fans of Downton Abbey may be disappointed that the show will be ending after its sixth season, even if there is a possibility for the series to be revived in the form of a film. However, others may agree with Neame that season 6 is the appropriate time to end the series.
Though Downton Abbey has remained strong in certain aspects, it has faltered in others. However, while Downton Abbey certainly doesn’t exactly resemble the show it once was, many fans are sure to mourn the series’ finale. At the very least, the confirmation of Downton Abbey’s end allows Neame and Fellowes to plan for a satisfying finale to season 6, which is currently in production.
Downton Abbey will return for season 6 later this year on ITV in the U.K. and early 2016 on PBS in the U.S.
Source: USA Today