Downton Abbey: the end
Series 6 begins on ITV on Sunday 20th September. The series will be final visit to Downton Abbey.
Trouble and sorrow. Strife and pity. Joviality and laughter. It’s all there in the series opener of ITV’s Downton Abbey.
Writer and creator Lord Julian Fellowes says that the plan was to end Downton at the end of series five but having ‘too much…that needed to be tied up’ saw the birth of a sixth and final one. As he so wonderfully puts it, it is much better to ‘leave the party while people are sorry to see you go, rather than waiting for them to be thrilled you’re leaving’.
And sorry to see you go, we shall be.
The first episode sees a nasty surprise with an accent waiting for Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) after her recent tryst, mixed emotions for Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Mr Bates (Brendan Coyle), the beginning of a new side to Barrow (Robert James-Collier) with his sights on new boy Andrew (Michael Fox) (fresh from his run-in with Denka (Sue Johnston)) and comedy from ‘the downstairs Lady Violet’ when Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) finds herself a messenger with a hilarious task to deliver upon.
The hour and a half feature ends much the same as the 2014 Christmas Special – with an ‘aww’ moment between two special characters.
A modern Abbey?
Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) hints at a modernisation of things up in elite classes when he discusses cut backs with trusty Carson. Of course, word soon gets around – I’ll leave you to see how – and it is implied that stripping Downton down to the bare bones of staff could be on the cards. Households operated differently in 1925 and the idea the house would move with the times is a welcome one. Will it happen? Not sure – there are so many well loved characters downstairs that I can’t help thinking it would be too much of a shame to lose any of them. Above realism, this is television.
Things to watch for?
From the sounds of things, Thomas Barrow’s series will be all about him finding himself – hopefully not just in time for something bad to happen. Andy catches Barrow’s eye because he senses his vulnerability and how much he is in need of friendship. Or course, while we know Thomas is in desperate need of a friend, the rest of the downstairs gaggle will quickly inform Andy of what Barrow has been up to in the past and try steer the new boy away from the twisted soul.
Lady Mary has a storyline that appears to begin and end in the first episode but I have a funny feeling we haven’t actually seen the last of it. It’s to do with the recent past threatening to present itself in the future. That is all I can give you.
Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) is to play her part in inferring the upcoming injection of modernity into the house by taking up residence (/refuge) in Gregson’s old place in London – which I guess would now probably be hers. Whether or not she does move away from the Abbey, of course, is another thing but with her job at the paper as well, things are changing for Edith.
Dame Maggie Smith. Lady Violet. Always watch out for that.