Julian Fellowes planned for three seasons of Downton Abbey

Downton AbbeyJulian Fellowes, writer and creator of Downton Abbey, has stated he always planned three seasons of the hit ITV drama.

The Sunday evening drama continues to draw big audiences for ITV1 which is currently broadcasting the second series which is set during the First World War, also known as The Great War. Ratings for the second series have remained high with Downton Abbey averaging 9 million viewers so far. Speaking to the Radio Times its creator, Julian Fellowes, has said he always planned three seasons of the drama.

“The original concept in my optimistic head was for the first series to start towards the end of the Edwardian era, the second to be set during World War I and the third in the 1920s. In the ’20s there are big changes, new inventions, different expectations I can’t wait to explore.” – Julian Fellowes in the Radio Times.

While the second series continues to enjoy strong ratings and good reviews there have been some criticisms by fans. The number of ad breaks, and the length of them, during episodes of Downton Abbey has come under considerable fire from fans. Several tabloids have even claimed fans are turning off because of the ad-breaks – though closer examination of ratings data does not support this. Another criticism aimed Hugh Bonnevilleat the second series is the speed in which it is covering the war The second season of Downton Abbey started in 1916 and the fourth episode, shown on Sunday, has reached 1918 already – some fans claim the big events of the war (such as the Russian Revolution) are not getting the coverage they deserve.

Downton Abbey stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Jessica Findlay-Brown, Rob James-Collier, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle. Guest stars so far across the two seasons have included Samantha Bond, Maria Doyle-Kennedy, Robert Bathurst, Cal Macanich and Zoe Boyle. ITV have yet to commission a third season but given its strong ratings its highly likely to do and Julian Fellowes told the Radio TimesI would like to think that we will be back next year’.

A Christmas Special is due to broadcast after the conclusion of the second series and will guest star Sharon Small and Nigel Havers. A recent report suggested it will air on Christmas Day on ITV1.