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PBS and ITV are about to say goodbye to a popular period drama. New reports indicate that Downton Abbey will not be renewing the cast’s contracts after Season 6, and that the next round of episodes will be the show’s last. Downton Abbey looks like it is cancelled, folks, but at least it seems as if the show will be able to end on a high note.
Here’s what’s happening: The period drama has already been renewed for a sixth season on PBS and ITV. However, the cast’s contracts are all up at the end of Season 6 and most of the creative team is ready to move on to other projects on television or in the movies. TV Line is reporting that so many main cast members would leave if the show moves forward into a seventh season that it would be impractical if not impossible to continue.
The news makes sense, considering a statement Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess on the series, recently made about Downton Abbey. At the time, it seemed as if she was saying she would be finished with the series after Season 6, but reading it now, it seems as if she is saying the show will be over after Season 6.
They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on. I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re into the late 1920s.
While ratings were down a bit on Downton Abbey when Season 5 aired, the show is still pretty popular on both sides of the pond. Regardless, during its first five seasons, the drama has already seen a lot of casting changes. Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley, and Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Sybil Branson, were both killed off of the series. Downstairs, several characters have also been replaced, including footman William Mason, ladies maid O’Brian and more recently, footman Jimmy. In a bustling household, it’s easy to see how servants come and go, but it’s much harder to have a show when family members are being displaced.
In fact, that’s exactly what happened during Season 5, as Rose saw herself married and Tom decided to take a leap and try his fortune in America. The world is changing, as always, but it looks like Downton Abbey won’t be on long enough for us to see Mary and Edith’s children grow up, or for they themselves to grow old. PBS and ITV have yet to confirm the cancellation, but for now, Season 6 looks to be Downton Abbey’s last.