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Julian Fellowes hints at 'afterlife' for Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has hinted the drama may not be completely finished once the sixth and final series has aired on television.

The writer said he would not be surprised if the ITV show had "some afterlife" when the Emmy Award-winning programme ends later this year.

"It wouldn't surprise me if it had some afterlife because it's been such a strong force. But it's definitely finished on television. That's it," he said.

The 65-year-old said Downton Abbey was "a huge part" of his life, but he believes he has made the correct decision to call time on the drama.

"I think it's right to stop when people are sorry and not when people are relieved," he said.

Asked what he will miss most about the show, Fellowes said: "It was quite nice having a continuous strain in your life for some years. It was almost like being a grown up. And I think I'll miss that a bit."

On whether he would want to be involved with Downton Abbey returning in another form in future, Fellowes added: "Ooh, I'm not sure I could trust my baby to another nurse!"

Downton star Hugh Bonneville said he believes it would have been "a misstep" for the show to continue beyond series six.

The 51-year-old who plays Lord Grantham said he was "looking forward to growing a beard" now that he has finished filming the show.

"I've started already. That's my ritual at the end of Downton, so no more getting up and shaving at 5am."

On why it was good that Downton was ending now, Bonneville said: "I think it could have been squeezed out for another couple of series, but I think Julian would have run out of ideas.

"We've been blessed by having a writer who's got a fund of stories to play with, and these characters that have been fully-formed over the last six years. And I think to have extended it would have been, I think, a bit of a misstep."

Paul Copley, 70, who plays Mr Mason added of Downton Abbey: "I think it has, to some extent, saved ITV's bacon. Along with a few other shows.

"ITV was struggling slightly and they certainly aren't any more."

The cast and crew were on the red carpet for BAFTA Celebrates Downton Abbey at the Richmond Theatre in Surrey.

BAFTA are honouring the period drama for its success in the UK and across the globe with a Special Award, which was presented to the producers by actress Julie Walters.

The special tribute, hosted by Jonathan Ross, will air on ITV later this year.

Downton Abbey will return in the autumn for a sixth series, while a final Christmas special will air in December.

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