Could Downton Abbey be about to finish forever?
Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton, has suggested the next series of the ITV1 drama may be its last.
In an interview, the screenwriter said he could not continue on both Downton Abbey and his next project – to create what has been described as an American version of the series.
The Gilded Age, to be set in New York in the late 19th century, has been commissioned by the US network, NBC Universal, but its production is being held up by Downton, which is due to return for a fifth series later this year.
In an interview in the US last week he said The Gilded Age will "happen when Downton finishes".
He said there would be a series later this year and added: "I don’t know yet if there is a season six, but it’s not going to go on forever.”
The most recent series of Dowton, which ended in the autumn, had average viewing figures of 11.8 million, and the Christmas Day special was watched by about seven million.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, it had previously been suggested that Fellowes could hand over the main Downton Abbey writing responsibilities to others, to allow him to concentrate on US show.
But his latest comments, in The Wall Street Journal, made clear he does not see that as an option.
Fellowes writes the scripts for Downton alone, although he said that he bounces ideas off his wife.
The last series was criticised after it featured the rape of popular ladies' maid Anna Bates.
The Christmas special was also derided for being 'boring' by many fans.
What do you think? Has Downton run its course or is there still mileage in the series?