Gareth Neame Q&A: ‘Downton Abbey’ producer
"I think it's only beginning to dawn on people that the end is nigh. It's not going to sink in until we shoot each actor's final scene or we shoot the last scene at Highclere Castle. As we applaud off each character on their last scene will be quite moving," reveals "Downton Abbey" executive producer Gareth Neame about the looming end of his Emmy-winning series. During our video chat, he does not offer up any details about the upcoming sixth season, adding "If you said to your children on the first day of December, 'Would you like to open your presents now?' the kids would all say, 'Yes, please.' Half an hour later they would all be crying because they would have spoiled things."
Last year's fifth season will be the one Emmy voters will be considering as they mark their ballots this summer. Neame offers that one of his favorite storylines involved the middle Crawley daughter Edith (Laura Carmichael). He says, "This was the ugly duckling from season one and the also-ran of the three sisters. By season five, this is a woman on fire who is becoming a professional woman. Talk about learning from the school of hard knocks. Everything has gone wrong for this woman and yet she keeps plowing on."
Another plot he enjoyed concerned oldest daughter Mary (Michelle Dockery). He says, "Mary decides to test out Tony Gillingham and have a test drive with him in a hotel as an illicitus assignment. For Mary, forming a second relationship as an older woman in her thirties is much more complicated."
The show won five Emmys in 2011 for Best Miniseries, Movie/Mini Supporting Actress (Maggie Smith) as well as costumes, cinematography, and writing. Since then it has contended as a drama and been nominated every year for Best Drama Series. Among the large ensemble cast, Smith, Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, and guest star Paul Giamatti have been nominated.