Its crisp plots and sharply drawn characters proved so compelling that they spawned six seasons on television and two spinoff movies.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the hugely popular Downton Abbey, with the wealthy Crawley family at its center, will return to television.
The production company behind the Golden Globe-winning show, which covered the many social changes and world events between 1912 and 1928, is now casting and hopes to bring back all the big names, including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern. .
And while it’s still in the early stages, sources say it’s expected to be ready to screen late next year, though filming commitments from major stars may push that back.
The show, created and produced by Julian Fellowes, is understood to be shown on ITV, its home since its launch in September 2010.
The Mail on Sunday may reveal that Downton Abbey will return to TV
A source said: ‘There is a plan that is in development and there is a lot of enthusiasm.
“There is a casting going on, and it would be great if all the big stars could come back. People loved Downton. It became a British institution and has been sorely missed since it left our screens.
‘There is great enthusiasm around this project. It was a Sunday night favorite and garnered huge viewing figures. There has been very little to compete with it since it ended.
The final episode of the show, which acted as the launching pad for the careers of Mrs. Dockery, Lily James, who played Lady Rose; and Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil Crawley, aired on Christmas Day 2015, with a peak audience of 7.4 million.
Fans watched Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Bertie (Harry Haden-Patton) finally tie the knot, on New Year’s Eve 1925.
Meanwhile, Ms. James made a welcome one-off return, joined by Matt Barber as Atticus, for the finale.
Other notable moments included maid Anna Smith (Joanne Frogatt) going into labor during the wedding reception, and she and valet Bates (Brendan Coyle) becoming the proud parents of a healthy son.
Such was the demand from fans that the series, the most-nominated British show in Emmy history, was followed by two movies in 2019 and 2022.
The second film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, saw the Crawley family embark on a grand journey to the south of France to discover the ‘mysterious past’ behind the newly inherited villa of the indomitable Violet Crawley (pictured right) played by Dame Maggie. blacksmith
Downton has also been extremely successful in the US, where each episode was viewed by an average of 26 million people. Pictured: Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, Elizabeth Mcgovern as Lady Cora and Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith
The first, set in 1927, shows a royal visit to the Crawley family manor house in Yorkshire. As members of the royal staff descend on Downton, an assassin also arrives and attempts to kill the monarch.
The second film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, saw the Crawley family embark on a grand journey to the south of France to uncover the ‘mysterious past’ behind the newly inherited villa of the indomitable Violet Crawley (played by Dame Maggie Smith).
Dominic West also joined the cast as Guy Dexter.
Yesterday, Downton executive producer Gareth Neame, who is also chief executive of Carnival Films, which makes the show, declined to comment when asked if he intended to bring it back.
ITV also declined to comment.
However, the news of his return will be a boost for ITV, which last year launched its streaming platform, ITVX, with the aim of competing with giants such as Netflix and Amazon.
The bosses will have seen the success of shows like Bridgerton and its popular spin-off Queen Charlotte, and joining the Downton Abbey juggernaut would be a way to further boost their viewership.
ITV has all six series of the show on the platform and network sources say they are ‘very well viewed’, meaning there is an appetite for more.
Downton has also been extremely successful in the US, where each episode was viewed by an average of 26 million people.