Downton Abbey: Show ‘could run to Thatcher’s landslide victory’ says producer

Series five of the period drama will see characters taken into 1924

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The Independent Culture

Downton Abbey could run until the country house saga reaches Margaret Thatcher’s landslide election victory in 1983, its executive producer has claimed.

Gareth Neame said there was no end in sight for ITV’s award-winning period drama, which returns for a fifth series in September, taking the characters into 1924.

Neame said the team hoped “to be back again next year,” and comparing the Emmy-nominated drama to a TV “soap” said that he finds himself getting more compelled by the family the more he gets to know them.

“We hope to be back again next year. We have to make a judgement with the producers and the cast but I find myself getting more compelled by the characters,” he said.


Asked when Downton might finally end, he said: “Margaret Thatcher’s landslide (in 1983).”

The show’s creator and writer Julian Fellowes said this series was set against the backdrop of the first Labour government. “It was a very frightening time for those people with large estates, whose way of life – and that of their dependants – was under threat.”


Video: Cast talk about their characters

“We talk about the Russian Revolution a good deal. That was a tremendous cannonball across the bows of old Europe which spread and so you’ve got that rumbling danger just beneath the surface of the period which I think puts a kind of zip in to it.”

Downton Abbey is now screened in 255 territories, including China, Russia and Korea. The series is up for 12 Emmy nominations, including best drama.