Downton Abbey Cast Admit No One Could’ve Predicted Its Success

Downton Abbey

There aren’t many shows big enough to warrant six seasons and a movie – just ask Community.

And yet, earlier this year, Downton Abbey successfully made the transition from TV to film, earning high praise across the board from fans and critics alike. It wasn’t without its challenges, of course, after the show’s creator Julian Fellowes held his hands up to admit that, for the longest time, it looked certain that the Downton Abbey movie would remain a pipedream. But still, Fellowes preserved. And thank heavens for that.

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, Elizabeth McGovern is still in disbelief that the show (and subsequent movie) were able to reach such high levels of success. Even now, in the aftermath of the film, she has to pinch herself from time to time, telling CinemaBlend that she continues to be “genuinely gobsmacked.”

Indeed, a global total of $167 million is a terrific feat for a British period drama, as McGovern explains:

Absolutely not. I still continue to be genuinely gobsmacked. And the fact that it’s doing the box office that it’s doing thus far, it completely floors me. But I’m not complaining, as they say.

Co-star Allen Leech agreed, and recalled the moment when he turned up to film just three episodes of Downton Abbey all those years ago. Oh, how far we’ve come…

No. It’s been something I still can’t fathom. I stood in the back of the theater at the New York premiere, with Hugh Bonneville. We stood there arm in arm, hugging each other’s shoulders, going ‘Isn’t this incredible?’, watching the reaction to the movie, ten years on from starting. If you told me that when I arrived on my first day, to shoot three episodes of this new period drama for ITV in the UK, I would have laughed in your face.

As for what the future holds, well, there have been rumblings of a potential sequel to Downton Abbey, providing the stars align. Hell, producer Gareth Neame already has an idea in mind for Violet Crawley, played by the inimitable Dame Maggie Smith. Time will tell.