Downton Abbey | How much does Lord Fellowes earn from Downton Abbey, who is the richest cast member?

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With rumours that “Downton Abbey” is secretly filming a brand new series, just how much could Lord Fellowes make from the series?

“Downton Abbey” fans are in full-blown gossip mode this morning with the news that the beloved ITV series, previously starring Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville, is secretly filming a new series - a return to television after the success of “Downton Abbey: A New Era” back in 2022.

As previously reported by Marina Licht, sources claim that “Filming has been going on for a few weeks now. It is all very, very secret. There are people working on it who have never seen secrecy like it. Those working on the set have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements so that they don’t give the game away but there is a lot of excitement at the return of Downton.” 

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“It was such a huge success before and there are so many more stories to be told, it seemed such a shame not to be able to make more of it but they’ve made it happen.”

It means potentially another payday for “Downton Abbey” creator Lord Julian Fellowes, who penned the series due to his fascination with the British aristocracy and their way of life. Fellowes is no stranger to ensemble, period pieces though - he earned the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2022 for “Gosford Park,” which also happened to star Dame Maggie Smith.

But how much has Lord Fellowes earned since creating and writing 52 episodes of “Downton Abbey”? NationalWorld TV has taken out our abacus and tried to do the math.

How much does Lord Fellowes earn from “Downton Abbey”?

Lord Julian Fellowes at the Dorset County Show, on September 04, 2022 in Dorchester, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)Lord Julian Fellowes at the Dorset County Show, on September 04, 2022 in Dorchester, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Lord Julian Fellowes at the Dorset County Show, on September 04, 2022 in Dorchester, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images) | Getty Images

It’s difficult to give a definitive answer to this question, as there are numerous financial considerations at play; if Lord Fellowes is paid for the scripts he has written, the percentage of the royalty rates for his work appearing on various television and streaming platforms and then any percentage of any grosses for the “Downton Abbey” movies.

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If we were to estimate however, looking at the production costs of the TV series and looking at screenwriters being paid around 10% to 30% of production costs and then taking into consideration the most recent budget for the series is on average £1 million per episode, that would mean Lord Fellowes would earn £100,000 per episode at the rate of 10%. But that would be if he was the only screenwriter.

If we were to include the other main writers on the show, Shelagh Stephenson and Tina Pepler, and divide that amount evenly, that would equate to all three earning around £32,333 per episode.

But Lord Fellows was also the creator of the show, and therefore would be accruing royalty rates from merchandising and TV syndication, nor how much he made from the movies. From a purely screenwriting perspective, and with the rates of screenwriters for movies around the 3% mark when it comes to the production budget, that would mean that for both “Downton Abbey” and “Downton Abbey: The New Era,” Fellowes would have made £1.3 million before box office numbers are taken into consideration.

So if we were to ask how much Lord Fellowes earned from the series and the films, our estimates place that as £5.2 million, owing to the 52 episodes of the series he wrote.

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Who is the richest cast member from “Downton Abbey”?

The cast stand on stage at at the world premiere of "Downton Abbey: A New Era" at Cineworld Leicester Square on April 25, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Focus Features, UNIVERSAL Pictures And Carnival Films )The cast stand on stage at at the world premiere of "Downton Abbey: A New Era" at Cineworld Leicester Square on April 25, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Focus Features, UNIVERSAL Pictures And Carnival Films )
The cast stand on stage at at the world premiere of "Downton Abbey: A New Era" at Cineworld Leicester Square on April 25, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Focus Features, UNIVERSAL Pictures And Carnival Films ) | Getty Images for Focus Features,

It should come as no surprise that despite almost sharing the same amount of screen time on “Downton Abbey,” Dame Maggie Smith is still the richest cast member from the series, with an estimated net worth of £14.5 million, owing to her endearing number of years in the entertainment industry. 

Surprisingly, given that he portrayed one of the more popular characters on the show, Dan Steven’s net worth is only £2.9 million despite going to star in movies such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Guest.”

  1. Maggie Smith - £14.5 million
  2. Hugh Bonneville - £5.8 million
  3. Lily James - £5.8 million
  4. Elizabeth McGovern - £2.9 million
  5. Dan Stevens - £2.9 million
  6. Michelle Dockery - £2.9 million
  7. Jim Carter - £2.9 million
  8. Joanne Froggatt - £1.4 million

Where can I watch the previous seasons of “Downton Abbey?”

Six seasons of the award-winning “Downton Abbey” can be streamed in the United Kingdom on ITVX.

Where can I watch the “Downton Abbey” movies?

While the first “Downton Abbey” film can be rented or bought through all leading digital retailers, those with access to Netflix can stream “Downton Abbey: A New Era” right now (subscription required)

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