Why Maggie Smith Is Happy Downton Abbey Is Over

When a hit TV show comes to an end, the cast members are usually the saddest ones of all to see those chapters of their lives close. But when it comes to the British period drama Downton Abbey, which has taken six seasons to go through over a decade in the lives of the massive Crawley family and other highlights of British history, one cast member isn’t crying in her tea over the show coming to an end: Dame Maggie Smith. Here’s what she says when asked if she’s happy the show is ending this year.

Oh yeah. No I really am. Because honestly, she was about—by the time we’re through—she must’ve been 110. So, I couldn’t go on and on and on. I couldn’t. It just didn’t make sense.

In a Hollywood world where younger actresses are often chosen over the older (and arguably more talented) generation, it’s kind of nice to see an 80-year-old actress saying she wanted a show to end because her character was in her 11th decade on Earth. Not a complaint that you’d ever get from something on The CW, I’d imagine.

Fans are no doubt of a different mindset than Smith, and are presumably fretting over the fact that there is just one episode left of the regular season before the series finale comes in December (at least, if you live across the pond from the States). Even though British TV seasons are generally shorter than American ones, Violet Crawley and her dry wit have made as much of an impact as any character that has graced the screen for double or triple Smith’s Downton screentime.

It may not surprise you to learn that the Dame is a bit like her character in that she hasn’t even watched any episodes of Downton Abbey in her life. (I just assume Violet wouldn’t stream shows or watch DVDs.) In this interview from The Graham Norton Show, which was apparently her first chat show appearance in over 40 years, she and her The Lady in the Van costar Alex Jennings are asked about watching the show, and while he was all about watching and enjoying Downton Abbey, Smith just looks sheepish for a few seconds before saying, “I’ve got the box set.”

Check out that portion of the interview below, in which the Harry Potter universe is also discussed.

Downton Abbey's next episode is hitting the British airwaves on Sunday, November 8, with the U.S. run of Season 6 coming to PBS in 2016.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.