Dame Maggie Smith who plays the sharp-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey (AKA everybody’s favourite character) has hinted that she might leave the show after the period drama’s next season.
In an interview with The Times in London, Smith said that the delightfully imperious Violet Crawley had surely done her duties.
“They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on,” she said.
“I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re into the late 1920s.”
However a publicist for the Dame said on Wednesday that her quotes had been misinterpreted.
Even still, the popular show, depicting the tumultuous (and mannered) lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and the servants that live for their drama, started in 1912, so the Countess and her acid-tongued put-downs have certainly had a good innings.
The show’s creator, Julian Fellowes, has not confirmed if the show will run beyond a sixth season.
In an interview with The New York Times, Fellowes said,
“It’s not really my decision. I don’t own ‘Downton Abbey’ now. NBC Universal owns ‘Downton Abbey.’ So I could walk away, but I wouldn’t walk away. It’s too much my baby. It won’t go on forever — I’m not a believer in that. But I can’t immediately now tell you where the end will be.”
But could the show go on without Violet Crawley?
When MiNDFOOD’s Michele Manelis visited the set of the show – at Highclere castle, the real home that stands in for Downton Abbey – meeting Dame Maggie was the highlight.
The cast on MiNDFOOD’s set visit
Julian Fellowes’ response to Manelis’ question about why Dame Maggie got the best zingers as Violet Crawley was perfectly apt,
“Because she says them better than anyone else!”
Not that Maggie Smith, 80, is slowing down any time soon. She’s currently starring alongside MiNDOOD’s current cover star Dame Judi Dench in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and has just finished shooting The Lady in the Van, which in stark contrast to the opulent life of the Countess, Smith plays a homeless woman.
Smith told The Times of why she will continue to work for as long as she is able,
“When you’re not working it’s scary, and when you are working it’s scary, because you don’t know if you’ve got the energy to get through the day,” she said. “But the bleakness of not doing it, and missing out on the friendships that you make, is too much to bear.”