Downton Abbey series 5: 'Julian Fellowes will quit while he's ahead' says Hugh Bonneville

The Earl of Grantham addresses rumours that the drama is coming to an end

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The Independent Culture

Fans of Downton Abbey are counting down to the hit ITV drama’s return later this month, with the new series set to throw up “high drama, laughs and right angle moments”.

But rumours have been rife that we will be bidding Julian Fellowes’ period drama farewell after series five.

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert, Earl of Grantham in the show, offered his take on whether or not the end of Downton is nigh.

“This is all written by one person and there’s only so much one person can do,” he said.

"There will be an end. (Executive producer) Gareth Neame has said he reckons it will run between five and ten years, so we’ve made it to halfway.

“I think there will be a natural end and I’m sure Julian will want to quit while he’s ahead.”

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”.


Neame seems hopeful that Downton will live for at least one more run. Speaking at the official press launch in August, he insisted that he is finding the characters “more compelling” as their stories develop.

“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.”

“We hope to be back again next year,” he added, before predicting that Downton will continue until “Margaret Thatcher’s landslide” in 1983.