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ITV are reportedly developing a seventh series of hit period drama Downton Abbey. Both ITV and Carnival Films declined to comment when approached by MailOnline.

The series, which is understood to be in early staged of development, is currently approaching some of the show's biggest stars, including Hugh Bonneville, who they hope to return. It's hoped the series would film next year and be ready to air by the end of next year.

A source told the MailOnline: "There is a plan which is in development and there is a lot of excitement about. There is casting taking place, and it would be great if all of the big stars can return...

"People loved Downton. It became a British institution and it has been much missed since it left our screens. There is huge excitement around this project. It was a Sunday night favourite and got huge viewing figures. There has been very little to compete with it ever since it ended."

Downton Abbey is an ITV period drama set in the early 20th century, created by Julian Fellowes. The series launched in September 2010 and ran for six episodes and five Christmas specials.

Two feature films have been released since the series ended in 2015. The cast for the series included Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith.

Downton Abbey is available now on ITVX and BritBox.


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