There’s still the traditional Christmas episode to come before the UK sees the conclusion of ITV’s flagship drama Downton Abbey, but Sunday night did see the last episode of the regular 6th (and final) season. Airing at 9PM locally, episode 8 scored 8.8M viewers and a 39 share. There was also a 9.5M viewership peak, per ITV. This is the best score for the Crawley family since November 2013, despite an overall overnight viewing decline in the UK in the past few years. The end of last year’s regular season drew 8.29M viewers and a 35.8 share in the overnights at the time. Season 4 in 2013 concluded with 9.8M and a 40.2.
As we began to wind down on the game-changing period drama, an overnight gathering of 7.6M viewers watched the UK debut back in September. That was the softest start to Julian Fellowes’ creation since it began in 2010. But, Downton remained the most-watched show in its time slot across all channels during the season. The first six episodes ultimately averaged a consolidated 10.12M viewers. The penultimate installment of the regular season last week drew 7.54M in the overnights with a 33.5 share.
Season 6 has been generally well-received with twists and turns aplenty. Last night’s finale has Twitter abuzz and the UK broadsheets doing retrospectives and breathless recaps in anticipation of the final finale Christmas episode later next month. No spoilers from me, save to say that Fellowes has wrapped up some storylines in the regular run but leaves a few key strings dangling for the holiday.
Fellowes, executive producer Gareth Neame, producer Liz Trubridge and the cast have all said they believe the time is right for the drama to wrap up. However, a potential movie may well be afoot.