Downton Abbey Series 5 Special - Cast
Downton Abbey Series 5 Special - Mr Carson (Jim Carter), Thomas (Robert James-Collier), Baxter (Raquel Cassidy), Molesley (Kevin Doyle), Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael), Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton), Tom Branson (Allen Leech), Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith), Robert, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), Cora, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery), Atticus (Matt Barber), Lady Rose (Lily James), Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol), Daisy (Sophie McShera) and Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan) ©2014 Carnival, photo by Nick Briggs

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?

Downton Abbey, 507 - Michelle Dockery
Downton Abbey, 507 – Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)) ©2014 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

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.

Downton Abbey, 3.03 - Joanne Froggatt
Downton Abbey, 3.03 – Anna (Joanne Froggatt) ©2012 Carnival

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.

Downton Abbey, 404 - Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) ©2013 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs
Downton Abbey, 404 – Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) ©2013 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

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?

Downton Abbey, 506 - Hugh Bonneville
Downton Abbey, 506 – Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) ©2014 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

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.

Downton Abbey, 405 - Laura Carmichael
Downton Abbey, 405 – Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) ©2013 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

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.

Downton Abbey Series 6 -Read Through, Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Minkie Spiro
Downton Abbey Series 6 -Read Through, Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd February 2015, The Savoy Hotel. Julian Fellowes (Executive Producer/Writer), Gareth Neame (Executive Producer) and Minkie Spiro (Director Ep 1&2) ©2015 Carnival Film & Television, photo by Nick Briggs

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.


Downton Abbey, Series 2 - Elizabeth McGovern
Downton Abbey, Series 2 – Cora, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) ©2014 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.