“They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on.”
Those were Maggie Smith’s words during an interview with The Sunday Times. She was, of course, and sadly, referring to “Downton Abbey,” one of the most British television shows to ever find its way to American shores. The Academy Award-winning actress has announced she will be leaving the show after shooting wraps up for Season Six.
For five seasons, she has portrayed the role of the Dowager Countess in an upstairs-downstairs-themed drama that explores the relationship among different classes of early 1900’s England.
Julian Fellowes, creator of the show, is still unsure if the “Abbey” will stand and witness its seventh season (they’ve just finished airing the fifth in the US). When The New York Times interviewed him, he expressed nothing but the utmost love toward his show.
“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.”
It should be noted that Dan Stevens and Siobhan Finneran, who portrayed the dashing Matthew Crawley and the conniving servant O’Brien, respectively, have left the show to pursue other roles despite being fan favorites. As for Maggie, she has incredibly good reason why her character needs to retire.
“I mean, (my character) certainly can’t keep going,” Smith told The Times. “To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re in to the late 1920s.”
Which is true. The series began in 1912, the year the Titanic sank. Violet isn’t immortal.
It was a surprise for “Downton Abbey” when US viewers tuned in and supported it all the way. The show has even won a handful of Golden Globes, with the most recent one going to Joanne Froggatt for Best Supporting Actress.
Maggie herself has also won the Golden Globe and the Emmy for her Countess Violet, and if true words were spoken, the show’s sixth season will witness the swan song for the Dowager Countess.
Because as her character puts it in the show’s third season, “‘Lie’ is so unmusical a word.”