Fans of the hit high society drama Downton Abbey have reacted with disbelief to reports the show could end this year.
The Daily Mirror said the show, which has been a huge international hit, would finish at the end of the next series because creator Julian Fellowes wanted to start work on a new show set in 19th century New York.
One US fan, Michelle G Wallach, said: “Oh please say it isn’t so… the end of Downton Abbey??? Most watched show in the world is signing off after a mere six seasons… looking for my #DowntonAbbey friends to share in my sadness!!
Another, writing on Twitter as LukeTH, said: “#Downton can’t go!” with another viewer saying it was the news “Fans Have Been Dreading”.
An ITV spokeswoman said: “We wouldn’t comment on speculative stories about our programmes.”
Downton Abbey has been a critical and commercial success for ITV and made stars out of cast members including Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens.
Earlier this month, Joanne Froggatt landed a Golden Globe after a rape storyline which shocked the show’s devoted viewers. Her character, maid Anna Bates, has been at the heart of some of the programme’s most dramatic storylines.
Julian recently told the Wall Street Journal about new US series The Gilded Age: “It will happen when Downton finishes, because I just couldn’t do both at once.
“Downton is not going to go on forever. It won’t be Perry Mason.”
At the National Television Awards he added: “I am interested to do another series because Downton was the first series I’d ever written.
“Now I feel I know much more about the game. I suppose there is something interesting about the idea of going on and using it somewhere else.”
Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs Patmore, told the Radio Times she didn’t know anything about whether series six would be the last and added: “I can promise you actors will be the last people in the world to know. That’s true. They won’t tell us first.”
But if it does end up being the final one, she said of her character: “I don’t want her to be on her own, because that would be too sad. I wouldn’t like that.”
She continued: “It’ll finish one day, whenever that is it will be quite difficult.
“I’ve been doing this job for 40 years. You’re not going to get more than one of these a lifetime – and what I really love is that the whole cast knows that too, the youngsters as well, they know this is not normal.”