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It was hard enough saying goodbye to the Crawley family and their servants at the end of each series but now we’re saying goodbye forever. Excuse the tears.
After six seasons of following the ups and downs of the upstairs/downstairs drama, it’s all coming to an end with the Christmas special in December which will welcome back Lily James as Lady Rose and Matt Barber as Atticus Aldridge.
Ahead of the Christmas episode, we spoke to the cast of Downton about their last moments on set, saying goodbye to Highclere Castle and the possibility of a Downton Movie…
The cast on the last day filming…
Robert James-Collier: ‘When you see the crew breaking down you know how important it is to them. [The last day filming] was a lot of hugging and a lot of back slapping and a lot of men trying not to cry.’
Jim Carter: ‘The very last thing we did was shoot the last scene of the series, which is quite unusual because normally we shoot all out of sequence. When they said ‘cut’, we didn’t think we’d be emotional about it because that’s the job – you move on and you meet a hundred new people – but we all got emotional. Even the big guys on the crew were crying. It was the right time to say goodbye, it can’t go on forever.’
Michelle Dockery: ‘Well, first of all it felt like we were just going back to work [to film the sixth series] and then gradually as it went on, it was dawning on us all. It was the last time we were filming in the Grantham village and then the last time we were filming in the Highclere Castle…and it really began to sink in. It was like we were giving back the castle to it’s owners. For most of us it was our home for the past six years. It’s funny because at the end of a long day filming we couldn’t wait to leave, but at the end of it all, we didn’t want to go. Laura [Carmichael] and I walked around the castle for one last time and we sat on Matthew’s bench and had a little cry. It was bittersweet really.’
Their favourite moments on set…
Raquel Cassidy: ‘For me, it was probably the first moment I stepped on set because I was a huge fan of the show before I joined and then again, the last moment was horribly beautiful and beautifully horrible.’
Elizabeth McGovern: ‘I’ll always remember the early morning walks up from the trailers to the house. The sun would be just coming out and there was always a stillness in the air. That was always really special.’
Hugh Bonneville: ‘I loved all the moments that we were together as an ensemble. It’s those shared moments that are sentimental.’
On working with Dame Maggie…
Hugh Bonneville: ‘Well she said she was just surprised and pleased that she’d made it through this long. She’s a legend and because she’s 80, she doesn’t need to work but she loves to act and work. She’s an icon, a living legend and we’re lucky to have her.’
Michelle Dockery: ‘It was amazing. Even right up to the last scenes I played with her I was pinching myself that I’m working with one of the finest actresses. It was such an education, the whole job was.’
Their best story lines…
Elizabeth McGovern: ‘I think for everyone the story of Sybill’s death was important because there were stages of grief and it showed how the death impacted different people in the family. I was very proud of that.’
Jim Carter: ‘There was a fantastic scene when Lady Mary got married and she came downstairs and asked me how she looked; it was like she had two fathers, the upstairs one and the downstairs surrogate father. Those moments are lovely to play because standing in the dining room all day long isn’t the greatest fun!’
Michelle Dockery: ‘I loved the scene where I came downstairs in my wedding dress and saw Carson. I loved the relationship between Mary and Carson; it’s a real constant. Jim and I get really excited when we see a two hander between us because we know it’s going to be a real tender moment. He’s like a father figure to Mary.’
On their least favourite characters…
Robert James-Collier: ‘Edith NEVER stops crying but that’s not Laura’s fault, Julian Fellowes writes it like that and Lady Mary kills every man she sleeps with! She’s the black widow of Downton.’
And creator of the series, Julian Fellowes on the possibility of a Downton Abbey film…
‘I don’t know, I mean there is obviously talk of a movie. I think a movie would be fun, because we could open the whole thing up in a way you can’t on television in weekly episodic narrative. You suddenly have the power to tell the story in a completely different way visually, I think it would be interesting for it to happen, but for it to the cast would have to be on board, so we’ll see.’
DOWNTON ABBEY SERIES 6 is released on Blu-RayTM and DVD from 16 November 2015 from Universal Pictures.