| 4.9°C Dublin

Downton stars tell of sadness as drama nears end

Downton Abbey stars have spoken of their sadness that the hugely successful period drama is drawing to a close.

Jim Carter, who plays butler Mr Carson, said it was probably "the right time", but added that the cast would "miss it enormously" when the ITV show bows out later this year after series six and a Christmas special.

"It's probably the right time - everything has to come to an end, but we shall miss it enormously," Carter said at The Downton Abbey charity ball at London's Savoy Hotel.

"I'll miss the fact that it's dictated my life for the last six years, but then there's always the challenge of doing something new, so that's all right, I'll take it in my stride."

Dubliner Allen Leech, who left his role as Tom Branson last year, agreed.

"I think we all knew for a while it was going to end and there's a sense of sadness but also a sense of achievement about what we've done with the show. It's the right time for it to finish," said the Killiney actor.

Samantha Bond (Lady Rosamund) said she would not waste a moment of the final series.

"You know you're coming to the end of something so you grasp everything, each moment, to enjoy and savour," she said.

Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, was in no doubt about who would be the most upset in the cast.

"We were asked who was going to cry the most and everyone said me. I would say me too, I'm the weak one."

Sophie McShera, who plays kitchen maid Daisy, said floods of tears were guaranteed.

"We're not getting maudlin yet, but I think we will," she said.

"I'm not going to think about it yet, it's too weird."