Julian Fellowes, bringer of brilliant period drama and, now, breaker of hearts, has officially called time on his hit ITV period drama. Speaking yesterday, the 65-year-old writer and creator said “The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard.” And, as ardent fans of the Crawleys and their upper-class woes, we can confirm that this has been the case.
While we’re sad (read: inconsolable) that the era of the Abbey is over, we can take some solace in the fact that nine (hopefully) brilliant episodes remain. That’s over nine hours of stellar period drama, which have potential to wrap up all the drama’s loose ends and give our beloved characters the conclusions they deserve.
So, what do we think needs to happen in Downton Abbey series six?
It’s basically four weddings and absolutely no – under any circumstances – funerals…
Mary needs to make a decision
Final series or not we are bored of Mary’s indecision when it comes to her tumultuous love life. Yes, we all enjoyed her dabbling in a spot of pre-martial sex last season, and we did need some time to grieve the death of lovely Matthew, but it’s high time she got herself back down the aisle. Mary needs a man, George could do with some sensible male role models now Branson’s scarpered and we could all do with more Matthew Goode in our lives. Time to put a ring on it.
Hughes and Carson need to seal the deal
Not in that way. But the butler and housekeeper have been acting like a married couple since 1912. Executive producer Gareth Neame promised us yesterday that “it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together” this season, which simply has to mean a wedding for Carson and Mrs Hughes.
Over the last few years we’ve had intimate late-night chatter, a smidgeon of flirting, a little hand holding and finally, this Christmas, a marriage proposal. We can’t call time on Downton Abbey without actually hearing the pair of them say ‘I do.’
Edith needs a happy ending
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want any of our beloved characters to end their Abbey journey on a downer, but when it comes to poor old Edith, it’s non-negotiable. Over the last five seasons we’ve hated, pitied and then empathised with the middle Crawley sister – and it’s been one hell of a ride for her too. Her spell of bad luck needs to end in series six.
Personally, I’m still holding out hope that Michael Gregson – love of her miserable life and father of her “charming bastard” Marigold – will make a re-appearance. He is supposed to be dead, but until I’ve seen a body with my own eyes, I won’t be convinced…
Daisy needs to leave the Abbey for pastures new
Mrs Patmore’s kitchenmaid Daisy has transformed from timid to petulant to near-inspiring. The lowly staff member got herself an education in series five and began dreaming of better things. We were worried when she threatened to leave Patmore’s kitchen and get a job in the big city, but, now, the time has come for her to say her goodbyes. Daisy has ambition and drive and times are (as always) changing at Downton – the moment has come for Daisy to spread her wings. The world is her coddled oyster.
Violet and Isobel need to spar until the end
Maggie Smith might have mentioned recently that she can’t continue with Downton Abbey, referencing the potentially improbable age of her character the Dowager Countess, but BY NO MEANS can she hang up her hat before the series is out. We love every single character in Downton, but Violet Crawley is the real reason we block out our Sunday nights for the entire autumn.
A few changes are fine. We wouldn’t mind if Prince Kuragin moved into the Dower House, or if Isobel decided to throw caution to the wind and wed Lord Merton (that would make us quite happy actually) but if Violet and Isobel aren’t bickering over high tea as the final credits roll, Fellowes will have some explaining to do.
The Abbey needs to stay secure
With Robert back at the helm and Branson pursuing the American Dream it’s ever so likely the Crawleys will be back on the brink of financial ruin when we are reunited with them later this year. A few months with Robert balancing your books and you’re in trouble. But if the Crawley’s are bowing out, we don’t want the last episode to see them selling up to the National Trust (could happen – the conservation organisation was set up in 1895) or having to move to a semi-detached 3-bed in the village because they can’t exist in a changed world.
We need to hear the pitter-patter of tiny Bates feet
A) Neither Bates or Anna should be anywhere – we repeat, anywhere – near a jail when series six begins. I don’t think anyone fully understood what was going on in the Christmas special and who was innocent/guilty/free/wanted at the end of it, but it’s fine, Fellowes, we won’t complain if you never explain yourself. Just, as Elsa would say, let it go.
B) The Bates need a fresh new start with no bars, trials or shivs to be seen. After seasons of distress and arrests, the Abbey’s star-crossed lovers deserve to get what they want: a brood of little babies.
Downton Abbey’s sixth and final season will air on ITV later this year