Farewells can be difficult, no matter whether you are saying goodbye to places, eras, people or in this case, TV shows. With the sixth and final season of British historical drama Downton Abbey set to air on PBS in early 2016, fans are now faced with the need to say goodbye to the series. As it happens, however, fans are not the only ones who are emotional about the finale. Actress Michelle Dockery found that leaving Downton after six years wasn’t easy. Apparently, she cried on her last day on set.
Laura [Carmichael} and I wandered around for the last time, and suddenly we didn’t want to go home. We went and sat on Matthew’s bench and had a bit of a cry.

In an interview with Fox News, Dockery revealed the last day of filming Downton Abbey was truly rough. It’s no wonder that Dockery needed a good cry on the final day on set. The series may have lasted for six seasons, but the chronology will have spanned fourteen years of heartbreak, turmoil, and occasional triumph for Lady Mary Crawley and the rest of the inhabitants of the Abbey. That's a long time to stick with a character.

Some of the most troubling turmoil spanning from the very first season on arose due to the tension between Mary and younger sister Edith, but Michelle Dockery’s friendship with fellow actress Laura Carmichael is clearly strong enough behind-the-scenes that the two women could share a moment on the last day.

We can’t possibly fault the actresses for becoming emotional as Downton Abbey came to a close. Honestly, leaving the gorgeous Highclere Castle would be worth a few tears even without the emotional investment of six years, and I got sniffly just reading the words “Matthew’s bench.” Mary’s first husband’s death may be well in the past by this point, but Matthew Crawley’s unexpected demise immediately following the birth of his son still stings, and it changed the course of the series for the rest of its run. It’s no wonder that Dockery and Carmichael found his bench a good place for their cry.

The sixth season looks like it will bring tears for the characters as well as the actors. The trailer is distinctly bittersweet, and the series finale promises to be really, really sad in its own way. The sixth season has already aired across the pond on ITV, and so eager American fans won’t have had much trouble tracking down spoilers for what is set to unfold in the last episodes. For those who managed to wait, however, Downton Abbey’s final season premieres at 9 p.m. ET on PBS on January 3, 2016. That still leaves us with a few days to stock up on tissues and do a final marathon of happier days on Downton to prepare us for the big goodbye.

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