It is better to quit while you’re ahead. That is as true in the arts as it is in sport.
Julian Fellowes has announced that the sixth series of Downton Abbey will be the last. He does not, of course, rule out the possibility of one off returns, including the enticing prospect for fans of the series of a big screen version. So there is always the chance of the TV equivalent of the aging popstar’s “Farewell Tour”.
But his choice of six series as being the appropriate number at which to call it a day reminds me inevitably of Trollope. There are, of course, six books in the Barsetshire series and six books in the Palliser/Political series. What is it about this number that is so magical?
But then Anthony Powell wrote twelve books in his A Dance to the Music of Time series. Ah, but that could be seen as two sets of sixes, couldn’t it?
And Galsworthy wrote nine books in his Forsyte Chronicles. But that’s three trilogies, isn’t it.
SO maybe it’s three that is the magic number. They’re all multiples of trilogies. Oh no. That takes me all the way to a place “Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away” and Star Wars…
Better get back to Downton…