Downton Abbey could run for another decade

The executive producer hopes to take advantage of the show's success in the US amid reports that creator Julian Fellowes is to quit

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Downton Abbey could have a lifespan of up to ten years, according to executive producer Gareth Neame.

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The ITV period drama, which has become an American sensation following its huge success here, is currently in production for its fourth series, but Neame has his eye on the future.

“I think it is going to go on for a while,” he said. “Right now the show is still growing in the US and it would be awful to think of the show ending. I would rather let the show run between four and ten years, I imagine.”

However, even Neame is aware that Downton can’t go on for ever.

“I would rather that we picked the right year [to end] and that in 20 years’ time the show was loved, rather than we went on a season too long and people fell out of love with it,” he told New York Daily News.

Neame’s comments come in the wake of rumours that writer Julian Fellowes will quit the show in order to focus on his new NBC series, The Gilded Age; rumours that Naeme says he hopes are not true.

“I dread that day when there might be a time we might bring a couple of other writers into that process. We have been very fortunate and a key part of the show’s success is Julian. He invented all the characters and every word they say and that has got to be part of the success of the show.

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“I hope to keep him for as long as we possibly can. What Julian does is unique.”