‘Downton Abbey’ reveals sixth season is its last

Image of "Downton Abbey" cast, which will end its successful run on TV at the end of its next season.
“Downton Abbey” will end its successful run on TV at the end of its next season.

Seems Dame Maggie Smith was correct about next season being her last on “Downton Abbey” since it will be the last for everyone. The cast’s contracts expire at the end of Season 6 and most are ready to move on.

The finale will air on Christmas Day in England, where the series has always been shown first. Traditionally, the American season begins  the following month in January.

“The danger with this sort of thing is to let them go on forever,” the New York Times reports Gareth Neame, the executive producer, stating in a press conference earlier today. “The danger is that you run to seven, eight, nine, 10 years. It’s very addictive to want to do that.

“But I think it’s more important to us, to make a perfectly formed show, in our opinion, that we bring to an end when we think the timing is right, and that people will love and remember that show for many, many years to come, and not feel that there was any sort of drop off, that we outstayed our welcome.”

Besides, Julian Fellowes will make sure we get our fill of rich, complicated families — this time Americans — as his new series for NBC called  “The Gilded Age” about the upper crust of New York’s social society set in the 19th century is scheduled to debut later this year. Followes has written every “Downton Abbey” episode for next season.

“I would not be inclined to try and keep the show alive without Julian. He is a creator of the show … he’s created all of those characters,”  Neame said during the press. “It’s just been a fantastic partnership and I couldn’t entertain continuing to make the show with other writers. I think that would be a big mistake.

“It really isn’t that case that Julian said, ‘I want out, to go and do other things,’ and everyone else has been forced into it. It really isn’t that.”

So that good news because we don’t want to rule out a future movie, or two. That’s something Neame said that the creative team “would be very interested in,” according to the NYTimes. I wonder if they, too, would be part of Masterpiece Theatre or abscond to NBC?