Downton Abbey confirmed for sixth series ahead of series five finale

The ITV drama will be back again next year for another Sunday evening run

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The Independent Culture

Hit period drama Downton Abbey has been renewed for a sixth series, despite speculation that the show will soon bow out of our living rooms.

ITV announced today that production will begin early next year, shortly after the 2014 Christmas special airs on Christmas Day.

The fifth season of Downton comes to an end this Sunday 9 November for a finale that looks set to be jam-packed with drama (yes, really, take a look at the trailer).

On average, 10.4 million people have tuned in per episode this series, much to the delight of the cast and crew.

"We have had an amazing reaction to the storylines, acting and production values of Downton Abbey this year and the whole team is thrilled to be moving ahead with a new season of the show," said Gareth Neame, executive producer.

"This will provide audiences with a fresh opportunity to see what will befall our much loved characters."

 

Steve November, ITV's director of drama commissioning, added that no-one knows "what [writer] Julian Fellowes has planned" but series six will be "unmissable".

Earlier this year Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert, Earl of Grantham in the show, said he believed that Fellowes will "quit while he's ahead".

"This is all written by one person and there's only so much one person can do," he said. "There will be an end."

Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, echoed Bonneville's comments. "I know it's his intention to write until the point that seems right [to stop]," she told the Radio Times.

"I say that, what do I know, I don't know, I really don't know! But I don't think that's his ambition."

Fellowes himself has said that "the most important thing is to make sure Downton is well-formed, comes to an end at the right time, and is not lured into the usual thing of trying to keep something going past its time".

It remains to be seen when that time will come but for now, your Sunday evenings will remain Downton-filled.

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