Such is the success of Downton Abbey, that its writer, Julian Fellowes is busy with a number of projects. One of these – Gilded Age – is threatening to end his involvement in Downton, as he himself explained to The New York Times.

“If I’m doing a series at NBC, I would not be able to write all of Downton and all of that series at the same time,’ he said. “I would hope that by the time all the hurdles have been cleared, the timing makes it so I can then concentrate on the new series.” But what would Downton be without Fellowes? The writer has crafted the show into being one of the most popular in Britain – and that success has been translated to the U.S well. Surely if he leaves, the show would have to wrap it up? "If Downton goes on – of course, that’s not my decision – then it would be with other writers. Perhaps with me supervising, but with other writers. There’s no point, really, in making pronouncements of absolutes,” said the writer.

Many shows, we won’t name any names, extend their lives long after they’re dead, providing us with season after season of diminishing quality. And this, of course, is something Fellowes has considered. “My own belief is that these things have a life, and one of the tricks is to recognise when it’s time to come to an end,” he explained. “But we haven’t made a decision when that will be. Some things go on for 20 years, don’t they, but I just don’t see Downton being one of them.”