“Downton Abbey” Season 5 won’t be the last fans see of their favorite Brits, but could Season 7 be the end? It just might be if actor Allen Leech gets his way. Leech, who plays Tom Branson, said the show shouldn’t go on more than two more seasons when he appeared at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Los Angeles' Jaguar Britannia Awards.
“In my heart of hearts, I can't see it going more than two [seasons] more,” Leech told E! Online. “I think the period of time we want to tell, we're coming to the end that us as actors we can keep playing these characters.”
While “Downton Abbey” Season 1 started in April 1912, “Downton Abbey” Season 5 will take viewers all the way to Christmas 1925. While character like Tom Branson and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) can believably age 10 years, Leech noted some of the older characters can’t age much more. Realistically, elderly characters like Lady Violet (Maggie Smith) will have to die at some point.
“Maggie Smith turned to me on one of our last days of filming this season and said: 'I must be 196 years old by now. What's in the water here?'” Leech said. "I said, 'I don't know, Maggie,' and she goes: 'It's ridiculous. I should have been dead years ago.'"
However, “Downton Abbey” may end even sooner than Leech predicted. Showrunner and creator Julian Fellowes speculated “Downton Abbey” Season 6 could be the last chapter of the historical drama.
“Unlike America, in England we have to wait until the season finishes [airing] before we receive a pick-up; we're not renewed multiple years in advance,” Fellowes told Huffington Post Canada earlier this year. “We never want to jinx anything. [Laughs] That's good because it keeps everyone at the top of their game. If there is a sixth season, it may be our last.”
Do you think it’s time for “Downton Abbey” to end? Take the poll below:
One thing on which all American fans can agree with Leech: They need the new season now. PBS is waiting until January to air the new season stateside, but British fans have already seen "Downton Abbey" Season 5. "I, along with Julian Fellowes, have been great champions of the idea of having the show out there at the same time," Leech said. "I don't know why it's not. I'm going to be shot for saying that and right now PBS probably has a sniper's rifle on me, but it doesn't make sense in this day and age."
“Downton Abbey” Season 5 premieres Sunday, Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS.