It’s been more than two years since the final episode was watched by millions of rapt fans, but it seems as if all is not lost for those mourning the end of Downton Abbey.
Various reports claim the long-awaited film version of the hugely popular TV show is finally go, with filming slated to start as soon as September.
Which means a feature-length Downton Abbey could be on the big screen in 2018.
A film version of the ITV period drama has long been discussed by both cast and crew, with creator Julian Fellowes confirming in September last year that he and “most” of the cast were “up for it”, and in January revealing he’d already penned a script (so he wouldn’t be “caught out” if the project was suddenly given the green light).
Mr Spratt – aka actor Jeremy Swift – told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly in March that the cast had seen said screenplay: “There is a film script which we’ve all been sent but it disappeared Mission Impossible-style from all our emails […] it’s supposed to be happening, filming, this year, but it hasn’t been locked down yet.”
While he expressed concerns it could be logistically difficult given many of the show’s stars have moved on to other projects, there’s clearly an appetite for a full-length film; the show has a huge fan base in America as well as in the UK.
The Sun reports that Fellowes, 67, is once again working with producers Carnival Films, claiming that a budget has already been agreed “and now it’s a case of getting everything in place to start shooting.
“It would take something big to stop the project from happening now.”
Read more: Is it time for Downton Abbey: The Musical?
Michelle Dockery – who played Lady Mary – said last year she could see “potential” and would “wholeheartedly consider” a film.
However, not all the cast seem as enthusiastic. Dame Maggie Smith, who played the Dowager Countess of Grantham, told an audience at the British Film Institute last month that she wasn’t sure there was enough of a plot to warrant it: “They talk about there being a film but who knows […] I just think it’s squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean? I don’t know what it could possibly be. It’s too meandering.”
Images: ITV / Rex Features