Downton Abbey series 5: Crawley family 'soap' looks set to continue as producers reveal hopes to be 'back again next year'

Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge are feeling 'more compelled' by the cast

Speculation has been rife in recent months that Downton Abbey may soon be brought to a close, with viewers forced to bid farewell to the Crawleys.

But, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, executive producer Gareth Neame insisted he is finding the characters “more compelling” as the hit ITV period drama develops.

“The strange effect of this show about a family, a ‘soap’ if you will, is that the more you get to know them, the more you go on a journey with these characters,” he said.

“Somehow, I’ve found myself more compelled by them, not bored and feeling like their stories are cold.”

Writer and creator Julian Fellowes said earlier this year that he knows the show cannot “go on forever”, admitting that its future past series five is in doubt.

“The most important thing is to make sure it 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.”

 

Shortly after Fellowes’ comments sparked concern, however, Neame put an end to the rumours, saying there were “no plans to end the show”.

“We think season five is really fantastic and we hope to be back again next year,” he added at the new run’s launch yesterday, before predicting Downton will run until “Margaret Thatcher’s landslide” in 1938.

Video: Cast discuss how their characters would cope today

Producers have promised "high drama, laughs and right angle moments" from series five, which airs this autumn.

Read more: Downton Abbey series 5 first look review
Downton Abbey press shot suggests time jump to 2014
Take a look at Downton's George and Sybbie as children
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