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Downton Abbey to end after season six

lady mary
26 March 2015
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It's the end of the Downton Abbey era. ITV and Carnival Films have confirmed that the popular period drama will no longer run after season six.

The show's next series will be its last, with the final Downton episode being the Christmas special.

Writer and executive producer Julian Fellowes expressed his gratitude at being able to create the show six years ago, and admitted that he never predicted how successful it would become.

downton © Photo: ITV

Previous reports suggested Downton Abbey would end after season six

"The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard," wrote Julian in a statement. "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.

"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.

"I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment."

lady mary © Photo: ITV

Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, has been on the period drama from the start

Fellow executive producer Gareth Neame added that, sadly, all good things must come to an end.

"Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years," he wrote. "Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and Downton is no exception. 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."

Gareth added that the final season, expected to air this autumn, will be full of the usual drama and intrigue but with "the added excitement of discovering how and where the characters all end up".

maggie smith © Photo: ITV

Maggie Smith (left) has previously said she would stay on Downton until the end

Downton, which features Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery among other stars, has pulled in an average of 11 million viewers over the course of the five series.

The show filled the gap for good Sunday night viewing, but it soon transformed into "a global phenomenon playing to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world," said ITV's director of television, Peter Fincham.

Downton debuted on the network in 2010 and is now broadcasted in over 250 territories worldwide. The drama is the most nominated British show in Emmy history with 51 nominations to date, and collecting 11 wins, on top of nearly 30 other major accolades from around the world.

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