Downton Abbey to bow out with a crack at Christmas top-spot

After the announcement that the final episode of Downton Abbey is to be shown on Christmas Day, Ladbrokes make it 3/1 that the drama goes out with a bang and tops the viewing figures on December 26.

Fans of the show will bid farewell to the Earl of Grantham and Co with the special, six weeks after the completion of the sixth and final series, due to start on September 21.

Many will be disappointed the run is coming to an end, but the show’s creator Julian Fellowes thinks now is the right time.

“You don’t want to wait until it’s a huge relief all round, so we decided at [series] six people would be sorry there wasn’t a [series] seven and that seemed right,” he said.

The numbers suggest that the popularity of the one-off festive specials of the programme has been on the wane in recent years.

In 2011 the first episode to be shown on Christmas Day attracted 8.9 million viewers to make it the third most watched programme on the day behind Eastenders.

The following year 7.3 million people saw Matthew make a dramatic exit from the programme, crashing into a tree. The position in the most watched table also crashed for Downton, sliding down to sixth place.

Two further years have seen fewer people watching the specials, with the gap continually widening between the drama’s audience and that of top-spot (3.49 million behind Mrs Brown’s Boys in 2014).

There will need to be an upturn in fortunes for Ladbrokes’ special price to land, but with the draw of a finale likely to draw in returning viewers, Downton could well bow out in style.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.