I’m getting word over my Britney Spears-style headset that the creators of Downton Abbey are expecting the show to go on for another six years, for ten total, and I’m just wondering if anyone was planning on telling the actors. It’s just that everyone’s been dropping like flies already in the first three seasons and if we keep on at this rate, the only person who will be left at the end of a decade of Downton is the Dowager Countess. (Oh come on, you know Maggie Smith is out-lasting all these plebes. She is unsinkable.) We already lost Dan Stevens – the devastatingly charming Matthew Crawley — last season, just because he wanted to go on and do other projects (bah! the nerve!), and of course Sybil, and now O’Brien, too? So who’s next? It’s a mass television exodus. Creator Gareth Neame doesn’t seem too worried, though, saying:
“I think it is going to go on for a while. Right now the show is still growing in the U.S. and it would be awful to think of the show ending. I would rather let the show run between four and ten years, I imagine. I would rather that we picked the right year and that in 20 years time the show was loved rather than we went on a season too long and people fell out of love with it.”
Girl! Ten years? Ain’t gonna be nobody left! And we’ll have caught up with ourselves by then! It’ll be 1980 and little Sybil will be living in a rundown Downton with a bunch of cats like Little Edie and her mother. You just mark my words! And just to add onto the obstacles, it sounds like the show will be losing a major voice in the form of it’s ‘co-producer and sole scriptwriter’ Julian Fellowes (they only have one scriptwriter?!?), who will be leaving the show to focus on his new NBC series The Gilded Age.
“I dread that day when there might be a time we might bring a couple of other writers into that process. We have been very fortunate and a key part of the show’s success is Julian. He invented all the characters and every word they say and that has got to be part of the success of the show. I hope to keep him for as long as we possibly can. What Julian does is unique.”
So no writer? No actors? Their only hope is turning this into the Victorian version of Wipeout. Which, now that I thought it up, I would totally watch.