Downton Abbey bosses apparently tried to convince creator Julian Fellowes to hand over the reins of the show to another writer so that they could keep it going.
According to the Radio Times, ITV and NBC Universal, which owns Downton production company Carnival Films, tried to convince Julian to give up control of his hit period drama to someone else so that it didn’t have to come to an end.
Last week, it was announced that the series would bow out after its sixth run this year, and although Julian had always said that he would end the UK show before starting work on his new US project The Gilded Age, the magazine has reported that bosses hoped there was a way of saving it.
Julian Fellowes (Anthony Devlin/PA)
A high-level production source was said to have told the Radio Times: “ITV and NBC wanted Julian to let someone else do it, but it wasn’t something he wanted. Downton is Julian’s.”
Before the announcement about Downton’s end was made, the magazine had spoken to the show’s star Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham.
Talking about speculation over the show’s future, he had said: “Julian’s writing is distinctive. The style and wit and the way he constructs scenes.
“I only recently realised that you go into a scene with one thing and leave with another. There is a momentum there. A scene starts with something then becomes about something else. When people try and satirise it they never get it quite right because you can’t copy Julian.”
Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey (ITV)
Spoofs of Downton Abbey over the years have included Comic Relief’s Uptown Downstairs Abbey in 2011 which starred Kim Cattrall, Olivia Colman, Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Harry Enfield and Sarah Solemani, and the CollegeHumor sketch The Britishers.
Last week, Julian said of his series ending: “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.”