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18 March 3rd, 2015 Dame Maggie Smith Not Departing Downton Abbey After All?

Courtesy/PBS

This morning, we posted our recap of the season five finale of Downton Abbey and the news that spread like wildfire on Monday that Dame Maggie Smith told The Times in London that she would wrap her run as Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess at the completion of the upcoming sixth season of the British soap opera!

But not so fast!  Looks like the series PR team did some emergency damage control relating that Smith’s remarks were misinterpreted as she was suggesting she will leave the TV show after its sixth season later this year.

Milk Publicity said to The Associated Press on Tuesday that Smith spoke lightheartedly, and “has always been on the record as saying she’ll be with the show for as long as the show runs.”

However, since Downton Abbey is renewed a season at a time, it may not matter how long, or how short Smith wanted to stay, if season six proves to be the series last stand.

So, what do you think?  Is this a PR spin or was Smith out of Downton after season six if it continued? Share your thoughts below!

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  1. jimh(leave it to beaver) says:

    She brings a lot of class to an already classy show…wouldnt be the same without her!!!

    Reply

    jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    Some believe shows today need to have sex, nudity, gory violence and foul language to be with the times or no one will watch…DA proves that theory wrong and that all one needs is a classy well written drama and they(viewers of all ages) WILL watch…Bravo, Downtown Abbey!!!

    Reply

    maryjeans replied

    Agree 100%. Uninspired writing needs sex and innuendo to get cheap laughs. Almost any line from DA could stand alone. The whole tone of the series spins a dream state. I often wish they would show two versions of a show or movie, one with all the cheap jokes and scenes removed for those of us who enjoy that. Bravo indeed to Downton Abbey and to PBS as well.

    Shay replied

    Amen to both notions, jimh!!! Downton Abbey is my absolutely all-time favorite program, and I cannot imagine a winter without it! It is always the perfect viewing option for those long, cold January/February Sunday nights, and such a treat after the hustle and bustle of the holidays! I look forward to it each and every year, and once the final episode of the season airs, it’s quite a letdown. While I sadly suspect we may be facing the end of the series, I certainly hope to the contrary. It is possible that all of this talk is merely a bargaining chip not only for Mr. Fellowes and his most precious program, but Dame Maggie, as well. Given she is a national treasure, she deserves every prerogative to make her tenure at Downton as lucrative as she can, particularly given her advancing age and formidable talent….this woman IS the heart of the show! I also think that perhaps her words were taken a bit out of context….it seems that she was simply stating the obvious….that her character was near to reaching her logical date of expiration, and as such, how much longer could she realistically survive??? All I know is that I want Downton to last as long as is feasible, whether in the form of prequel/sequel, a yearly Christmas special, or even feature film. And if that means we must be deprived of “The Gilded Age” on these shores, then so be it. No matter how fantastic it may be in theory, I cannot fathom that it could possibly surpass the quality of the original Downton , especially in the absence of a sublime muse like The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet Crawley! Long may she live!

    Rodd replied

    I wholeheartedly agree, Jimh!

    Michael (not Fairman) replied

    Isn’t it interesting that despite the success of DA, which I think has shown there is an audience out there desperately craving the kind of programming it represents (good writing, good acting, not relying on cheap stunts, graphic violence, overt sexuality, etc.), we keep hearing, pretty much, from the U.S. networks that shows like that “can’t succeed” and they keep doing the same kind of programming they’ve been doing and that is gradually losing audiences.

    Ditto for the daytime soaps specifically. I think DA is prime proof that there’s still an audience out there for what I would call “traditional soap,” and yet nobody’s tried that formula in at least two decades on daytime, in favor of gimmicky storytelling and cheap ratings stunts (that aren’t working–look at the ratings!). Go figure.

    Shay replied

    So true, @Michael not Fairman)!!! Downton manages to portray romance, relationships and all other aspects of life for both young and old with the greatest levels of gentility and good taste, and we cannot get enough it! Even the love scenes are always dealt with in a classy manner. And yet….look at the raunchy, trashy antics to which we are treated on American daytime drama to the obvious delight of a small, but most vocal minority here at this very website. No doubt they would be thrilled beyond belief were Edith to become a 3X3 unwed mother with plenty of “who’s the daddy” candidates, Mary and her next beau to share a snappy shag on Matthew’s grave, Robert and Cora to tease a three-way with Simon Bricker, Carson and Mrs. Hughes to get their freak on in her sweet, but simple, sitting room, Isobel and Lord Merton to suffer carpet burns after a vigorous roll on the sumptuous oriental rugs and of course, the Dowager Countess to loosen her corset and flash Spratt whilst swinging from her crystal chandeliers in the adulterous company of Prince Kuragin….or perhaps even a toy boy! Oh, the humanity! Of course, I say it all in jest, but it is merely my way of illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

    Shay replied

    Right you are, jimh, but I’ve been thinking: Downtown has had an Ivy, a Daisy and Rose, two Marigolds, and of course, the inimitable Violet! Isn’t it time for a “Hyacinth?” (As in “The Lady of House,” Bu-cket?) I adore Patricia Routledge and would love to see her pay a visit to the Abbey before it closes its doors for the final time. Seems rather appropriate, wouldn’t you say, since this show is the ultimate example of “Keeping Up Appearances?”

    Reply

  2. louisa says:

    I always thought her comments were blown out of proportion. I hope Dame Maggie and Downton are with us for many, many years to come! It is one the best TV shows ever.

    Reply

    Don H replied

    Louisa. I agree with you. I wish they had 30 episodes a season instead of 8 or 9. That’s one show I can’t get enough of.

    Reply

  3. Patricio says:

    Ms.Smith is the heart and soul od the show not to mention the comic relief. The show would survive without her, however,it would be a diminished show.

    Reply

    Shay replied

    You are most welcome, Patricio!!!! I heartily agree with your sentiments regarding Dame Maggie….I absolutely love her! As an avid Downton fan, I eagerly read every piece of information available as to the developments of the show, so I am more than happy to share it with like-minded posters. By the way, filming of Series 6 has just commenced in the UK, and is being covered in the British press on an almost daily basis.

    Reply

  4. Shirley Strickler says:

    Most of all I’ll miss Tom can’t believe they are shipping him to America, loved him and Mary together:(

    Reply

    Don H replied

    Shirley, you have to remember that this show was scripted early last year and filmed during the summer when it was thought that season 5 would be the last season. THEN it was picked up for season 6. So, last Sunday’s finale was supposed to be the end of the show, so some story lines were wrapped up. It quite possible that Tom Branson could come back. Frankly, I hope he does.

    Reply

  5. lizzy says:

    Dame Maggie Smith is and always has been wonderful in whatever she is in and she would not suffer one bit without Downton but the viewers would and so would Downton.

    Reply

    Shay replied

    Here, here, Lizzy! However, as you probably already know by now, the real question is not if Dame Maggie and her irrepressible Violet will be around for Season 7, but if there will indeed be a Season 7 at all! I have been reading with great interest in the British press on this very subject, and apparently, the call is not down to Julian Fellowes because he doesn’t own the show…NBC does. Hence, it is in their hands to choose how long Downton remains, although Mr. Fellowes seems to at least have creative control over his product since he is the sole writer. That leads me to surmise that the future of the Abbey comes down to how long the American network is willing to wait for the debut of his next project, “The Gilded Age.”

    Reply

    Patricio replied

    Hello shay thank you for you’re “insider tip” which makes perfect selse to me.

  6. janet says:

    I can say I really enjoy the show, want Violet to return. I also got the idea she was saying, how long do you think Violet can go on, Not Maggie.

    Reply

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