Final curtain for 'Downton Abbey' after Season 6

Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:08pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - The hugely successful British period drama "Downton Abbey" will wind up after the sixth season, its executive producer said on Thursday, but a possible movie version cannot be ruled out.

"There's so many different explanations" for the decision, Gareth Neame said in a conference call with reporters. "I think our feeling is that it's good to quit while you're ahead."

Creator Julian Fellowes, the sole writer of the drama about an aristocratic British household in the early 20th century, told Reuters he is nearly finished writing the sixth season and knows how it will wrap up.

"Obviously, I am sad," Fellowes said by phone. "It has been an extraordinary part of my life and career."

But he noted that the conclusion will be a boon for the cast, especially the younger actors.

"They've got a tremendous launch pad now from 'Downton,'" Fellowes said. "You can't stay on the launching pad forever. You've got to fly. I think that is what they feel and I wish them well."

Neame denied recent media speculation that the show was ending so Fellowes could go to work on other projects.

"It really isn't the case that Julian has said, 'I want out, I want to do other things' and everyone else has been forced," he said.   Continued...

Creator Julian Fellowes (L) and executive producer Gareth Neame (R) pose with cast members Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Rob James-Collier, Phyllis Logan and Joanne Froggatt (2nd L-2nd R) at "An Evening with Downton Abbey" at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, California June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok