Carnival Films, the production company behind the British period drama series, Downton Abbey, have recently confirmed that the upcoming sixth season of the show will also be the last. Millions around the world have tuned in to catch up with the Crawley family on a consistent basis since 2010, so many viewers are not ready to see the plug pulled on the show just yet, and it turns out, they may not have to after all. Downton Abbey producers Gareth Neame and Julian Fellowes have revealed that they are currently putting serious consideration into making a film adaptation of the series.
“[A movie is] definitely something we’re contemplating, it would be great fun to do,” Neame said in a recent interview. He also revealed that a spinoff series is another idea that is being kept on the table.
There has already been talk of ending the series at the sixth season for quite some time. Some have speculated it would be primarily due to Fellowes’s pending departure to NBC in order to work on their upcoming drama series, The Gilded Age, which much like Abbey is also a period piece. Neame insisted that the decision was mutual however, saying “I will say that if Julian wanted out of the show, I would not be inclined to keep the show alive without Julian.” Instead, both of the producers, as well as the cast, feel that the sixth season would be a good time to wrap everything up and provide an end to the series.
With discussion for a film adaptation at hand however, the series finale for Downton Abbey may not be all that conclusive. Receiving a barrage of questions over where the show will god, the producers remained very tight-lipped about details for the final season, only confirming that already existing questions are slated to be answered.
Broadcast in over 250 territories around the world, Downton Abbey has scored consistently high ratings for each season, season five in particular having 10.5 million viewers in the United Kingdom alone. Domestically, it ranks as the most popular drama series ever broadcast on the PBS network, reeling in 12.9 million viewers in America during season five, many of whom are particularly drawn to Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess and matriarchal figure of the family who is known for her witty one-liners, portrayed by Maggie Smith of Harry Potter fame. The younger actors on the series, many of whom were relative newcomers or unknowns at the time of the series debut, have drawn much acclaim for their performances and are also said to have positive prospects for their acting careers in the future.
As the series comes to a close, the hope of a movie is a sigh of relief to many who were not quite ready to let the show just yet. It has yet to be confirmed if Downton Abbey film adaptation is official yet, with Neame being quoted as saying, “Yes, I can confirm there have been rumors.” In spite of this cryptic statement, he also said it would be great fun and interesting to do a movie, and that many of the cast members would be on board. To a lot of people, this would likely mean that the movie is a “yes.”
By Philip Cunningham
Photo by: Nick Briggs – Flickr License