From the Daily Mail:
Downton number four is on the way: Julian Fellowes reveals he is planning next series of hit costume drama
By Chloe Thomas
PUBLISHED: 19:41 EST, 31 July 2012 | UPDATED: 02:26 EST, 1 August 2012
He has created one of the most successful costume dramas in television history. And as the nation prepares for the third series of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, the show’s award-winning creator, reveals he is now planning a fourth series of the ITV hit. Lord Fellowes, 63, spoke out as he scoffed at reports that Dame Maggie Smith would be leaving the show. The new series of Downton Abbey will premiere in September.
And speaking at the Royal Academy of Arts on Monday night, the writer told the Mail: ‘’I am sure there will be a forth series, yes although it hasn’t yet been confirmed officially. ‘But it’s a definite yes in my heart and I would be writing it and I have a pretty good idea of what I would do with it too.’ The blockbuster costume drama, which is set in the fictional stately home of Downton Abbey, features some of the cream of British acting talent including a star turn by actress Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Earlier this year it was rumoured that the 77-year-old, who is famed for withering glances and cutting quips as the Dowager Countess, would not return for the third series. But Lord Fellowes set the record straight and said he would do everything in his power to keep Dame Maggie - who has won two Emmy awards for her role - as part of the franchise for as long as she is able. He said: ‘Dame Maggie will be in this show for as long as she wants to be and I can tell you that even if she doesn’t want to be, she won’t die, she’ll go to the seaside just in case she wants to come back.’
The third series will also feature the acting talents of veteran Hollywood actress Shirley Maclaine who will star as Lady Grantham’s American mother Martha Levinson. Her character will appear in two episodes where she will clash with the Dowager Countess of Grantham played by Maggie Smith. And adding weight to the notion of a fourth series, Lord Fellowes who won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for Gosford Park in 2002, said that Miss Maclaine’s character is likely to return, adding: ‘I think she’ll be back actually because she really enjoyed it. She was absolutely charming - the cast and the crew adored her she was absolutely lovely’.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Downton Abbey has been nominated for 16 Emmy awards. It is nominated for Best Drama and has also scooped best actor and actress nominations for two of the shows stars- Michelle Dockery who plays Lady Mary Crawley and Hugh Bonneville who plays Lord Grantham. The nominations make Downton Abbey the most Emmy-nominated British TV show in history with a total of 27 nods over the past two years. However, Lord Fellowes, who has also received an Emmy nomination for outstanding writing, also revealed that audiences should expect less opulence for the third series. He revealed: ‘In series 3 we will see much more change and hardship because the characters are living in a post war world. 'Although it has been hinted at in the earlier series, it’s clear that the character will not be exactly as they were in 1910’.