Downton Abbey without Lady Mary? Not going to happen. Michelle Dockery, the Emmy-nominated star of the hit period drama, said she has no plans to abandon ship.
"I am sticking with the show for however long the producers want it to go," Dockery said on UK talk show This Morning.
Downton Abbey is entering its fifth season with a fall 2014 premiere in the UK and a winter 2015 start in the US. There's been chatter that season five could be the end of the road.
"I don't know yet if there is a season six, but it's not going to go on forever. It won't be Perry Mason," creator Julian Fellowes said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Downton executive producer Gareth Neame, who has previously said the show could run for five or six years, said the end is not quite in sight.
"I can confirm that there are no plans to end the show after the fifth series," Neame said in a statement released to E! News in January. "ITV commission each series on a year-by-year basis. In an interview given to The Wall Street Journal (published December 31, 2013), Julian Fellowes stated that the show would not go on forever (inevitable of course and something both he and I have been on the record for previously). For now, ITV have commissioned series five and that is what we are busy preparing."
Downton Abbey continues to post high ratings in both the U.S. and the U.K.
"We don't know how long it's going to go on for," Dockery said. "We're on series five now. What's great is that we have six months of the year to do other things in between so I am still here and whatever opportunities come up, then I will go with it."
Dockery, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville and the rest of the principal cast—including some new faces—have all signed on to return for a fifth season. During the third season of Downton Abbey, Jessica Brown Findlay's character, Sybil, was killed off. Dan Stevens' Matthew died in the season three Christmas special and Siobhan Finneran left the show between the third and fourth season.
There had been chatter that Smith would not return for a fourth season, but in a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Fellowes said, "I refuse to do the show without her. It's an honor to not only watch her but to also write for her. She's inspiring."
Phew. It looks like all the Crawleys will be staying put…for now. No more Christmas special deaths, K?