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Downton Abbey axed after series 6; the 'right and natural' time' to end hit drama

(Image credit: Nick Briggs)

The gates of Downton Abbey will shut for the final time when the next series, the sixth, concludes, ITV and the producer Carnival Films have confirmed.

Julian Fellowes, who created and wrote the global period drama sensation, said: "The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea.

"Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain. But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment."

Downton Abbey is the highest rating UK drama of the past decade across any channel, with an average of 11 million viewers over the course of the five series, including Christmas specials.

Downton is also the most nominated British show in Emmy history, with 51 nominations, collecting 11 wins, as well as three Golden Globes, three

Screen Actors Guild Awards, three BAFTA awards and three National Television Awards for Best Drama.

Carnival’s managing director and executive producer of Downton Abbey, Gareth Neame said: “Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and Downton is no exception.

"We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans. We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up…”

Fellowes has committed to create a similar period drama for the US channel NBC, entitled The Gilded Age.