Downton Abbey film offers fans hope after series axed

Downton Abbey

Executive producer Gareth Neame says the team behind ITV’s hit show has been considering a stand-alone film

A glimmer of hope remains for bereft Downton Abbey fans after the show’s executive producer said he is contemplating a film version of the hit period drama.

However, he said it would be unlikely to feature characters who have already left the show, such as Dan Steven’s character Matthew Crawley, who was killed off in a car crash three years ago.

Following the news that the forthcoming sixth season of Downton on ITV and PBS will be the last, executive producer Gareth Neame told the Guardian: “It’s something we’ve been contemplating for a while but while we’re still making the TV show it’s not something we’ve had the opportunity to work on.”

He said the film version would “be stand-alone, it would not have to be linear, it could be before or after” the current period of history the show is set it.

Neame went on: “It could move, across or during one of the years [in the show] or could be earlier. But it is unlikely to go back to characters who have exited.”

Speaking about Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, he said he would be collaborating with him again as an executive producer on The Gilded Age, Fellowes’ new drama for NBC set in 19th century, which is being made in America and being billed by some as a “US Downton”.

It is not yet known if that will be shown on ITV, although it could neatly fill the slot once occupied by Downton.

He said that while the end of Downton was emotional for all those involved, “it’s better this way than going on a year longer than we should.”

When asked if ITV put pressure on Carnival Films and its parent NBC Universal International to carry on with the show, Neame said, “everyone would say do we have to end it now, we’ll keep it going as long as we can”.

While there will be financial implications in ending the show, he hopes people continue to licence it and it will continue to generate revenue.

However Carnival has new series coming up, including a new drama, which will be announced imminently.

Neame added: “The company has to do some soul-searching … It [Downton] does take up a lot of time but no doubt the new shows will too.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Tara Conlan, for theguardian.com on Thursday 26th March 2015 18.07 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010