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Downton to end this year with ITV searching for replacement


It’s been a a steadfast addition to ITV’s schedule since 2010, but the end is nigh for Downton Abbey as reports suggest series 6 is to be the last.

The Mirror reports Downton Abbey will finish this year as writer Julian Fellowes wants to concentrate on his new NBC drama The Gilded Age, set in 19th century New York.

Meanwhile the younger members of the cast are hoping to capitalise on Downton’s worldwide success with their agents seeking work for some of the main stars while they were in Los Angeles at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

One source said: “It’s an open secret that Downton is ending this year.

“Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer. Some are interested in the US, where Downton is as popular as it is in the UK.

Joanne Froggatt, Edith Carmichael and Allen Leech were in Los Angeles for the awards last week and there were several meetings about both TV and film roles.”

ITV has declined to comment on the future of Downton, but drama chiefs have been asking for independent production companies to pitch for the autumn Sunday night slot, which generates some of the highest ratings of the year.

A source said: “They want something long-running and ­ambitious.”

One TV insider revealed: “They are looking for something which is long-running and ambitious and which could appeal to the mass audience in the way that Downton has done.”

The sixth and final Downton Abbey, made by Carnival Film & Television, is due to start filming in the spring till the summer and will air on ITV from September.