The cast of the classic and phenomenally successful TV series, Downton Abbey Series 6, are literally counting down the days until August 15th, when they finish shooting the whole series … and it hasn’t been easy for them.
Several members of the cast, including, Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates) and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley), and Executive Producer, Gareth Neame, came to the TV Critics tour to say goodbye.
What will you miss the most about when the series is over, and what souvenir would you want to take from the set?
Michelle Dockery: I think, each other and the crew. It’s been their life, as much as it’s been ours for the last six years. I’ll miss the people.
Joanne Froggatt: I think we all feel the same, the people. And we’ll really miss working with our team every day, and I include the cast and crew in that. And the only souvenir I want to take home is Lady Mary and Mr. Bates.
Laura Carmichael: I want to take most of the set home from the newspaper office, just because it’ really cool and nerdy, and old-fashioned stationery that I somehow find very exciting, and typewriters. And big leather sofas.
It’s a really cool set, and I love all the props.
Penelope Wilton: If I could arrange to have someone come and do all the flower arrangements that we have in all the rooms in my house, I would be absolutely thrilled.
Elizabeth McGovern: I’ll miss being on a hit TV show.
How hard has it been to shoot this final two hour movie of Downton Abbey Series 6?
Hugh Bonneville: We’ve started ticking off the locations. So we finished at Highclere Castle a couple of weeks ago. That was quite an interesting day and full of memories and emotions. In fact, we celebrated when we finished in the dining room, because that’s always been the longest scenes. So we had a team photo in there.
And we said goodbye to the village of Brampton that’s been incredibly kind of us over the past six years where we filmed the village itself, the church. So we said farewell to them.
Now we’re in the studio with two weeks left. And we said goodbye to a couple of our characters this week. So we’re beginning to wind things down, and it’s going to feel very strange on the last day.
Laura Carmichael: It was very strange saying goodbye to Highclere, because it felt like a second [home], it wasn’t our home anymore. Of course, it was never our home, but it felt like it for over six years. And as soon as they said, ‘Cut,’ on that day, you realized it was just pretend. It’s full of so many fond memories, and it was very emotional.
Michelle Dockery: We didn’t want to leave. Laura and I wandered around for the last time, and suddenly we didn’t want to go home. It was really funny. We went and sat on Matthew’s bench.
Laura Carmichael: We had a big cry.
Gareth, the two hour specials are a tradition in England on Christmas Day. Was there ever a thought of doing a two hour movie once a year, just covering some of the characters and updating them?
Gareth Neame: No. We made the decision at the end of the second season, when we knew the show was a big hit, to do a two hour movie on Christmas Day, because there has always been this wonderful Christmas tradition that, even in Britain, you always want to be with your favorite TV characters and your favorite shows at this time when family is coming together for Christmas.
The year when we decided to kill Matthew Crawley, it was about 9:59 p.m. when 15 million households felt that they’d lost a member of their family, that was a bit awkward.
If not TV movies, what about a feature film, which has been rumored?
Gareth Neame: There’s no plan. There’s rumor and speculation. I’m not denying anything, but there’s no firm plans. I think a Downton movie could be a wonderful thing, but we don’t have a script or a plan or anything as yet.
Downton Abbey Series 6 Soundbyte
During the panel, Hugh Bonneville told us what souvenir he’d like from the Downton set, and his story is wonderful.
After the panel I asked Elizabeth McGovern if she would want to do a feature film of Downton? Hear her surprising answer.