Stars from “Downton Abbey” walked the red carpet at the Richmond Theatre in London Tuesday for a Special Award presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. During the ceremony, the series received a special honor for its outstanding television success in Britain and around the globe.
Creator Julian Fellowes was quoted in the awards booklet, where he described the show’s success as very unexpected.
“To say that the past six years have been quite an adventure would be something of an understatement,” he started. “We have all been asked whether we had any idea of the impact series would make and the answer is of course not.”
When discussing the show with executive producer Gareth Neame, Fellowes did not anticipate the show’s wide success — or for it to surpass one season.
“I had deliberately constructed a last scene for the first series which, if there were to be no further commissions, could serve as the conclusion,” he stated.
The BAFTA tribute was hosted by Jonathan Ross and featured a performance from opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who played Dame Nellie Melba in the series. The presentation also included praises from celebrity fans from around the world and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. The special, entitled “BAFTA Celebrates Downton Abbey,” airs Winter 2015 on ITV.
“I speak for the entire cast and crew when I say how honored we are that the Academy will recognize the show with this Special Award,” said Neame. “Not only is ‘Downton’ a much-loved show in Britain, it has had huge success in both the U.S. and right around the world, waving the flag for Britain and our creative content and that’s why the BAFTA recognition means so much to us all.”
Actors Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern walked the red carpet, which included a celebratory smooch from series stars Hugh Bonneville and Allen Leech.