Downton Abbey fans upset that the show is bowing out will be pleased to hear that the Dowager Countess may again appear on screen.

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith in ITV’s hit period drama, might return in a future show by Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes.

The Gilded Age is a new drama believed to be focussing on New York high society families in the late 19th century – so it would be a younger Violet if she were to feature.

“Robert Grantham would be in his early teens, Cora would be a child and a young Violet could make an appearance,” Julian told the Mail on Sunday.

Downton will end when the next series finishes, but show bosses admitted they are “contemplating” a film version of the award-winning drama.

The show, filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, features a mixture of established stars including Dame Maggie and helped launch the careers of actors including Michelle Dockery, Lily James and Dan Stevens.

It has also featured guest appearances by names including Kiri Te Kanawa, Shirley MacLaine and – in a sketch for ITV’s Text Santa charity – George Clooney.