ITV says the upcoming sixth season of its hit period drama Downton Abbey will be the show’s final outing.
The series is one of ITV’s biggest hits and has been sold around the world where it’s built a loyal audience.
Peter Fincham, ITV’s Director of Television, said “We all thought very carefully about the right moment to bring something so special to a close that felt editorially right, and left viewers wanting more.
“Christmas Day on ITV this year will certainly be one to remember, as the concluding special brings a series to an end that started as a leap of faith for all of us, and ended surpassing all expectations.”
Series creator Julian Fellowes commented: “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.
“Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain.
“But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment.”
Gareth Neame, Managing Director of series producers Carnival, added: “Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years.
“Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and Downton is no exception.
“We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans.
“We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up…”