Downton Abbey axed: Producers 'very interested' in movie spin-off, Hugh Bonneville hopes onscreen daughters will 'be happy'

Gareth Neame and Julian Fellowes would like to make a 'stand-alone' film adaptation of the ITV drama

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Those depressed at the prospect of autumn Sunday nights without a dollop of Downton Abbey to cheer them up will be heartened to hear a film could be in the works.

When asked about a possible movie spin-off the ITV show’s executive producer Gareth Neame said he and creator Julian Fellowes would be “very interested”.

“It would be a wonderful extension… Julian and I would be very interested if we could get our ducks in a row,” he told Deadline.

Neame revealed a film would have to be “a stand-alone” piece rather than continuing the story arc of the TV series.

“It’s something we’ve been contemplating for a while but while we’re still making the TV show it’s not something we’ve had the opportunity to work on,” he told the Guardian.

Yesterday Neame and Fellowes announced that the forthcoming sixth series of the period drama would be its last.

The final time we will see the Grantham family (on television, at least) will be on Christmas Day.

A huge hit internationally, Downton has led to Hollywood careers for several of its stars including Lily James, the lead in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, and Dan Stevens, who left the show to pursue his career Stateside and will be next seen in Beauty and the Beast.

Dame Maggie Smith, one of the most beloved Downton characters, stars as the Dowager Countess alongside  onscreen son and daughter-in-law Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern.

Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael play the Crawley daughters whose haphazard love lives keep the series interesting.

Michelle Dockery and Matthew Goode

Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Bonneville said he was amazed the series went beyond the first season.

“Those who follow the show might remember at the end of series one there was a slightly odd feeling because some of it was wrapped up in case the show never returned and some of it was left open in case it did - so there was no guarantee the show was going to continue,” he said.

He said he’d like his characters’ daughters to end the programme on a positive note, and said filming the final series as “an extraordinary experience”.

The Obama family are among Downton’s high-profile fans and the multi award-winning series commands an average audience of 11 million per episode.

Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire


Filmed at Highclere Castle, Berkshire, the series has followed the fortunes of the Crawley family and their servants from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 through to World War One and the Roaring Twenties.

Fellowes, who announced that it was being axed yesterday, said: "The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. 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."