Gareth Neame quashes speculation costume drama will finish after season five – and adds that it could last for up to a decade
Downton Abbey‘s executive producer has moved to quash speculation that the show will end after its fifth series, sparked by comments made by creator Julian Fellowes. Gareth Neame told AFP that “there are no plans to end the show”, adding it could continue until 2020. He said: “ITV commissions each series on a year-by-year basis. In an interview given to the Wall Street Journal, Julian Fellowes stated that the show would not go on forever (inevitable of course and something both he and I have been on the record for previously). For now, ITV has commissioned series five and that is what we are busy preparing.” He added: “It won’t go on forever. No show does. [But] the show will live to an age of somewhere between five and 10 years.” He added that the show would end “at the right time”: “Clearly the show is an economic success. But to me, the more important thing is to make sure it 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, whose Carnival Films production company also made Poirot and Whitechapel, said its worldwide success has been a surprise: “I was hopeful that we would have the usual 50-plus, upscale, Anglophile American audience, but I didn’t know that we would become such a mainstream hit. Why we should be the most popular non-Spanish programme in Spain, I don’t know.” Neame is already developing his next collaboration with Fellowes, NBC 19th century drama The Gilded Age – already being dubbed “the US Downton”. Fellowes told the WSJ: “I haven’t written it yet, but it’s about the old aristocracy, the Winthrops and the Stuyvesants and the new money of oil and gas and shipping in the 1870s … It will all be fiction – it won’t be real people – but when those families descended on New York, they took over.” Sounds promising –but can it match the “gilded” success of Downton?
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