Shut the doors, bring down the shutters, throw dust shields over the furniture, Carson: Downton Abbey is closing.
This can come as no surprise to anyone — the signals have been obvious for some time — yet fans around the world will likely mourn anyway.
Still, there’s hope: There could be a Downton Abbey movie someday soon.
The producers of the globally popular series announced Thursday in London that the sixth season — the one currently in production — will be the last one because “it’s the right time.”
Executive producer Gareth Neame said in a telephone news conference that the decision was made in collaboration among the cast, crew and creator/writer Julian Fellowes. He said it had nothing to do with cast contract negotiations or a small dip in ratings (in the U.K.).
It had to do with timing, Neame said, because DA has always been about good timing.
“Our feeling is it’s good to quit while we’re ahead,” Neame said. “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.”
“It’s been an “emotional day” for all involved in the show, many of whom have been with it from the first day,” he said, “and despite the fact that everyone helped make the decision. It was a cast decision, (too), we’ve taken these characters on a journey, we’ve told our story.”
He said no one had any idea when they started that the show would end up being the TV phenom it has been, with acclaim around the world, stardom for some previous unknowns, and shelves groaning with awards.
“We thought we’d have good success in the U.K. and traditional outlets for British content — we didn’t know we’d end up in 250 territories and (be) one of the biggest shows in the U.S.,” he said. “We would have been perfectly happy with three seasons. It’s very tempting to go on for years.”
But he and Fellowes, who’s working on a new American series, The Gilded Age, are resisting the temptation.
Neame said there are no plans for a spin-off TV series; instead, his company, Carnival Films, is working on other projects.
But he confirmed there might be a DA movie.
“Our (he and Fellowes) position is that we would be very interested in that, it’s something we’re contemplating, it would be great fun to do,” he said. “I can’t confirm it’s definitely going to happen but we shall see. If we can get all our ducks in row …”
Neame was circumspect about detailing what will happen in the last season, 11 hours of drama over nine episodes, which will conclude at Christmas in the U.K. It begins airing in the USA in January on PBS.
But he promised that people will be “satisfied” with the resolution of story lines involving different characters, such as “poor Edith” and whether Anna and Bates will ever get a break.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Maria Puente