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Downton Abbey stars' tears over final episode

Published 27/08/2015

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter said emotions were running high on the final day of filming.
Downton Abbey star Jim Carter said emotions were running high on the final day of filming.

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter has said TV viewers will need "two hankies" at the ready on Christmas night for an emotional final episode of the period drama.

The actor, who plays Charles Carson, said: "These characters, we see them. We say goodbye to them. But it's not final. We see them setting off on different paths."

But he added: "It's really satisfying. Two hankies, Christmas night."

The season six trailer of Downton was premiered at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Phyllis Logan, who plays Mrs Hughes, recalled filming the last ever scene of the ITV drama.

"I have to confess there were tears when it came to the end," she said at the TV festival in a session called Farewell Downton.

Logan said Carter gave a speech when they finished filming but halfway through his voice started to break as his emotions got the better of him.

The actor described seeing the "sobbing" faces of the crew, and he said: "It just did me in."

Logan added: "And that set the rest of us off."

Carter said he always watches Downton on Sunday nights with his family. Logan said fans watch the show "again and again and again from the beginning".

She said people buy the box sets and love watching it all over again.

With Downton now ending, Carter said he is doing a documentary for ITV about musician Lonnie Donegan, and will be interviewing Sir Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey and Ringo Starr.

Meanwhile, Michael Edelstein, president of NBC Universal, said American audiences find Downton Abbey "exotic".

He said: "I do feel like there is something that is exotic to an American audience. It's funny, the royal family here has a mixed impression with the general public.

"You go to America and anything royal is instantly embraced, we can't get enough of it.

"The world of class... we don't necessarily have it in such an overt way in the US, so it doesn't ring true.

"In the US we don't really talk so much about upstairs or downstairs. It's just Downton and they're all characters to us."

Executive producer Gareth Neame recalled being told that nobody in the US would ever be interested in Downton.

The drama has become a worldwide commercial and critical success.

It is the highest rating UK television drama of the past decade, with an average of 11 million viewers over the course of the last five series. The show was presented with a Bafta special award, in recognition of its contribution to television in the UK and around the world.

The final season will air in the autumn on ITV.

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