Downton Abbey to wind up after sixth season, producer says

27 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Downton Abbey’ is coming to a close after six seasons.

NEW YORK—While announcing on Thursday that next season’s Downton Abbey will be its last, executive producer Gareth Neame declined to say who among the Crawley clan and staff will survive until the series’ final fade-out. Producers of the popular British period drama on Thursday confirmed it will end after its sixth season, scheduled to air in the United States in early 2016.Gareth Neame, Carnival’s managing director and executive producer of “Downton Abbey,” said in a statement: “Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. But the danger with this sort of thing is to let it go on forever.” Asked about a rumored “Downton Abbey” feature film, Neame said, “It would be great fun to do,” but added there so far are no plans in place, nor are there plans for a series spinoff. Here are five of our favorite (or should we say mourned?) casualties: From left, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Jessica Brown-Findlay as Lady Sybil Crawley, in the television series, “Downton Abbey.” (Photo: AP Photo) — Kemal Pamuk (played by Theo James).

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. A dashing Turkish diplomat visiting Downton Abbey in Season 1, he seduces winsome Lady Mary then rudely dies in her bed, which leads to a comic yet successful effort to avert scandal and secure Mary’s reputation.

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.” Julian Fellowes, writer and creator of the series said, “The ‘Downton’ journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. The series premiered on the U.K.’s ITV network in 2010, and on PBS’ “Masterpiece” anthology in early 2011, inspired in part by the 2001 Robert Altman film, “Gosford Park” (written by Fellowes), and presented as a variation on the British classic “Upstairs, Downstairs.” “Let’s not forget,” said Neame, “when we set out to do this in the first place, we thought we would have a good success in the U.K. and that very traditional outlets for British content globally would be there.” “We did not know we would be in 250 territories worldwide,” Neame said. “We didn’t know we would be one of the biggest shows on American television. The Crawleys’ youngest daughter, beautiful and headstrong, dies in childbirth in Season 3, leaving the family and staff bereaved and shattering her husband, Tom Branson.

So, a complete game-changer.” “Downton” also benefited from the shift in how TV is consumed, including binge viewing and the growth of social media that turned watching telecasts into group experiences, she said. She was optimistic about life after “Downton.” She noted that “Poldark” and “Indian Summers,” in the “Downton” mode of extended British series, are coming to “Masterpiece.” “‘Indian Summers’ is even sexier” than ‘Downton,’” she said. “And ‘Poldark’ has a death and a birth and money, and all the things you would expect.” Production of the upcoming 13-hour season is well underway, Neame said, but he kept mum on any details apart from saying all the current characters would be back and be given satisfying resolutions. “We very much have an eye to where the characters will end up,” he said. “What will become of poor Edith? People want to know these things!” While Neame acknowledged the temptation to carry on such a breakout success indefinitely, the series, he said, “has always been viewed by everyone involved as a bespoke, well-crafted piece of popular television.” The decision to call it quits was reached through a process of many conversations.

The series has enjoyed such success over the past five seasons, and we’ll certainly be working alongside Carnival, Masterpiece and PBS member stations to make season six the biggest yet. But a risky scheme to shed his long-institutionalized wife and marry Edith leads to his demise, confirmed in Season 5, leaving Edith loveless yet again. But having now made the decision official, Neame said, meant “a very emotional day for all of the people involved in the show.” EDITOR’S NOTE – Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. Until then, Sunday nights on PBS continue to offer fans a full slate of ‘must view’ British and, soon, American historical drama.” “Downton Abbey” is the top PBS drama of all time, the most popular series in “Masterpiece’s” 44-year history and a consistent ratings performer, with season five averaging 12.9 million viewers over its nine-week run, with over 12.6 million streams of full episodes digitally.

The family’s yellow Labrador retriever, she arrives on the scene in Season 2 (replacing Pharoah, the initial Downton pooch, whose doggie derriere continues to grace the series’ opening titles posthumously).

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