Downton Abbey to end after six series: Julian Fellowes' hails 'unique experience'

This year's Christmas special will be the last time we see the Grantham

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The Dowager Countess did say she couldn’t go on forever and now the creators of Downton Abbey have announced that the sixth series will be the last.

The show’s writer Julian Fellowes said he suspected the programme would remain a “principal marker in most of [its creators’] careers”.

Series six is due to be broadcast in the autumn.

The ITV period drama, which is filmed at Highclere Castle, has followed the fortunes of the Crawley family  and their servants from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 into World War One and the Roaring Twenties.


The multiple award-winning show is the highest-rating British period drama of the past decade with an average of 11 million viewers over the course of its five series and Christmas specials.

Fellowes, who created, wrote and produced Downton, 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."

The Golden Globe and Bafta winning show is also the most-nominated British show in Emmy history with 51 nominations and 11 wins.

Among its many stars are Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess alongside Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery.

Lily James has most recently been seen in the lead role of Kenneth Branagh's live action retelling of Cinderella for Disney.

“When Julian Fellowes brought us the idea for Downton Abbey six years ago we thought it would be a great Sunday night series for ITV, but we had no way of knowing that it would become a global phenomenon playing to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world," said ITV's Director of Television, Peter Fincham said.

The final Downton episode will be broadcast on Christmas Day.

Three weeks ago Dame Maggie, 80, hinted that the series was due to end this year.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, she said: “They say this [series] is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on. I mean, I certainly can’t keep going.”