Earlier this month, the Dowager Countess herself, Maggie Smith, acknowledged that the end was near for the much loved ITV show. “I can’t see how it could go on,” she said. “I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 [in the show] by now.” It’s true, too, that InStyle cover girl Lily James hinted to us that she thought season six would be the last. “ I mean, I think it will be the last one. Don’t you?” she said whilst being interviewed for our January cover.
We’re told the decision to end Downton was mostly practical – many of the cast’s contracts expire at the end of season six and they’re already being lined up for new jobs. Plus, show creator, Jullian Fellowes needs to be freed up to start work on the NBC drama The Gilded Age, a sweeping fictional epic about the upper crust of New York’s social society set in the 19th Century. [Downton in the states, then.] He revealed in a recent interview, “ It will happen when Downton finishes, because I just couldn’t do both at once.”
So what would you like to happen before we bid them a final farewell? Lady Mary to marry again? Lady Edith and Marigold to come clean, perhaps? Or - *whispers* - the Dowager to pop her clogs at home? (after all, she did once say,“ No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”) It’s a given that no-one likes a death in the family but, if the show wants to go out with a big old emotional bang - and make ratings history - we say this is how to do it.