Maggie Smith to Leave ‘Downton Abbey’ After Next Season

Maggie Smith Leave 'Downton Abbey' After

LONDON — Maggie Smith, who plays the sharp-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham in “Downton Abbey,” has said that the next season of the British period drama will be her last.

The season five finale just aired in the U.S., and there has been speculation that the series will stop after the sixth season, but whatever the show’s fate, Smith told the Sunday Times her part is coming to an end.

“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.”

But Smith, who is 80, will not be quitting acting, and will continue to work as long as she is able to.

“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.”

Smith is keeping busy. She presently appears in the movie “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” alongside Judi Dench and Richard Gere, and has just finished shooting “The Lady in the Van,” in which she plays a homeless woman.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 53

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. mary latisi says:

    I so enjoy watching Maggie Smith She is an icon I am in my 70’s and really look forward to older characters on the show I naturally relate I love the show!!

  2. S Smith says:

    Downton Abbey could easily continue and work it’s way into the second world war and beyond ! It has a marvellous network of amazingly strong characters and the Crawleys children when grown up would indeed produce yet another generation of active and intelligent people. We are so involved with the family now …. come on !!! We all want more !!!!!!

  3. That’s too sad. Ms. Smith is the ONE actress we definitely look forward 2 watching in Downton Abbey.
    And what’s more sad is the realization that the only way her role can come 2 an end is with the Countess’ demise. :)

  4. Artie Cruikshank says:

    I think that since the Bates’ already expressed an interest in opening up a little hotel, they should move to a small town in California and open up a motel. John starts drinking again and in a drunken jealous rage he kills the mail man right in front of Anna, he confesses that he also killed his wife and the rapist valet. After he is convicted and executed Anna gives birth to a son she names Norman.

  5. TheBride says:

    I thought next season was the last and they are ALL leaving!

  6. Denise says:

    Well put in all you said. I will miss her too.

  7. Saundra Dalgleish. says:

    I can’t read all theses comments . I am in ARIZONA. USA. I love love love this show. IT is so well written. I read and watch anything I can find on Downtown Abbey. BUT I am do devastated a that Dame Maggie Smith is leaving the show. Here she’s re met a suito and lover from her very very interesting past. She the GLUE that holds this family together. She’s is what is the best about the ears and customs and civility in the show,, I love waiting to see what she will wheat. The woman rocks anything purple and a lavender or wisteria in color. I love her NOT So subtle digs at anyone with such grace and charm of a lady in that era. I can bear to know she might leave. OH PLEASE Mr. Fellowes you must write her a part that will convince her to stay. She plays this Matriarch with such grace and perfect timing when needed to disapprove of moral issues or keeping the secrets. Grumbling’s loud enough for all to hear of her disdain. But the Crawley name and the Earl of Grantham should be protected from any Gossip, to keep the family name and place in history in place at all costs. But she is loyal to the family at all costs. The Dowager Countess is what the best of the past that remains. Take her out it ,will be about nothing but the Young going forward on their own without havering anyone to keep things in the proper order. At least for another year. The young making so many mistakes and wrong choices need her not only for guidance but to save them, from themselves. There is a great way of life at stake in the new world. I know so many young people who are enthralled with this show. I showed my owned granddaughter ( the best I could ) in the art of a proper tea time and to use utensils correctly. NOT to shovel food in sand guzzle her water of coke etc? THE best story was this|: her parents who work so hard in an electronics plant. Same work everyday on the second and third shift. Her dad works In county jail hard hard work mentally and physically keeping these murders drug addicts etc. In order. The family went on a little cruise to Mexico. I told them what to expect. my sweet Katie and I got out plates a d GLASSES and lots of silver ware and so many cups and glasses. Why? I wanted her to know how to eat properly especially if asked to share the Captains table. Her dad called me to tell me LIL KATLIN was making sure everyone was using the right place setting or glass so not to embarrass themselves. She told everyone what each dish was used for, how to use or let the server know which ones they weren’t going to use of the stemware ( by turning main glasses upside down) even the difference between the butter knife and the main knife to use for meal. She didn’t even know how to properly cut a piece of meat and how to hold the knife and put the knife down between bites. How to lay the knife across the top of the plate, how to balance th fork on the side of the plate. Kaitlin got it down and how nice it all looked and worked. No electronics at he table.,it was the time for the family to talk and enjoy each other’s company. He dad said she made sure they all looked like they came from royalty and were on using their best manners He laughed and said they were very proud of her for her instruction. Katie simply gave up TV. Her mother bought the DA TV series. They quit watching silly TV shows. And started plying games together and doing puzzles. It was a really drastic change. But the all have adjusted and are using their time better and more time together. Wonderful. Kate loves this story. I moved to be nearer the nursing home to be near my husband. My husband was a graduate of WestPoint ( proudly) he worked very hard and became a great officer , serving in war twice. My big burley soldier was such a gentleman and enjoyed his tea. We loved it together. We enjoyed it more when Kaitlin could come over and shared tea with us in our pretty china cups and beautiful tea pot. We’d make little sandwiches or have little finger cookies.
    What a wonderful influence this terrific show has been on this very nice family living in a little trailer in the country. It doesn’t matter trailer or or castle, you can have manners and civility in your home.
    Dame Maggie Smith you are such a wonderful actress. You don’t over shadow all the other actors you enhance the experience of watching this period in time so well. You make everyone look BETTER in their roles. Kaitlin see you as the catalos of the wonderful show. You look stern and disgusted at the same time everyone knows YOU are RIGHT most of the time. Your scowls are made with love of family and the fashion and holding onto the dignity that is DOWN-TON.
    We are not over the death of Mathew and Lady Sibyl and ISIS even yet. We understand this goes on in families everywhere. Please stay. My granny in KY. Lived till one day before her 104th BITHDAY. You can make it. Julian Fellowes please don’t write her out…oh PLEASE!!!!! I think Dame Judy Dench should come in the last year as a long lost relativetiive. Or better, breaking their silence of a shared suitor they both loved…. I want to see these absolute queens of the stage and screen work together on this very fabulous show. Better than a hit fudge brownie with chocolate coved ice cream on top….think about it. Please. I just adore ALL the cast members. Mr. Fellowes you have turned the 21 century on its so un classy ears. thanks for the hours and hours of fun.

  8. Barbara Harbath says:

    Downton Abbey won’t be the same without Maggie Smith. Best wishes to you dear Maggie.

  9. J Dean says:

    Oh NOOOOOOO! It will not be the same. I’m SAD……. Please one more year!

  10. Diana says:

    I think the show can do without “Cora”. Anyone can just sit, head tilted, silly grin on face.
    But no Maggie Smith!? That surely will hurt the story. She adds a lot of character, wisdom and laughs in each episode like no one else I can think of. As for Shirley McLaine – yuck!

  11. Dolores says:

    Now it is being said that Ms. Smith is not leaving the show. What is going on? For public reaction maybe? Anyway, I cannot think of anything else of interest that can be written into the show: Carson & Hughes are together, Edith has her Marigold, Ditsy Rose got married,
    Tom and Sybie are off to a new life, Bad Boy Thomas is getting (almost nicer), the Bates
    are FINALLY found not guilty so the only thing left is nasty Mary’s life. Perhaps Edith will
    get the guts to slap her across the face when she passes those nasty remarks at her.
    O.K., so Edith squealed – get over it Mary. You’re only upset that you got caught. Actually, if it were the other way around you most likely would have done the same thing.

  12. Yes, it is a fantabulous show and next season needs to be its last, so that we don’t get bored by/of it.

  13. Ross says:

    I absolutely adore this incredible series and have so many family and friends that do as well! However, I feel it’s best to not be the last to leave a party, and the next season should indeed be the last. It has done a marvellous job of creating incredible characters, story lines, all the while with a stunning backdrop of sceneries and sets.
    Maggie Smith is the thread that holds the tapestry together, and without her it wouldn’t be the same. This amazing show should go out on a high note!

  14. Dolores says:


  15. Maureen Krebs says:

    If there should be a season 7, Maggie Smith will definitely be missed! She is the backbone of Downton Abbey!

  16. Sam says:

    If Maggie doesn’t return, send her out with a fatal “bang”, that is, if she could take “it” after all these years!

  17. bellabella says:

    Oh no, I absolutely love Maggie Smith. She makes the show.
    Please DON’T bring in Shirley McLane. She was awful.

  18. Kenn says:

    Well season six might as well be the last if Maggie Smith is leaving. She is the one character that the show can not do with out. Her sharp wit makes the show.

  19. Irene Garcia says:

    The passing of the Dowager Countess would be a logical end to Ms. Smith’s role thus releasing her to continue seeking other roles. It’s wonderful that at the age of 80 she still wants to work and, I hope she will as long as her health and stamina allow her to do so. I look forward to the next season of Downtown Abbey because of the excellent story lines and character development. While I would love to see it go on indefinitely, I know that eventually it will end. This drama series has really been a worthy “Masterpiece”.

  20. Tati Garcia says:

    Maggie Smith is an unique ccharacter in Dowton Abbey, she is too special
    and may be it won´t be the same without her. I hope she will stay !!!!

  21. Tara Clary says:

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it cannot be true…… i absolutely love downton abbey but it would not be the same without the Dowager Countess… Maggie Smith please dont leave….. Cannot wait to see her in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…

  22. Cheryl says:

    I am so sad to learn about Maggie Smith leaving the show. Maggie is the only reason I watch the show! Love you, Maggie. Won’t be the same without Maggie.

  23. Niles says:

    I enjoy this series, even if the “season” is dreadfully short. Without Smith, though, it would be devoid of any heart and soul and should cease to exist.

  24. Janice says:

    It just won’t be the same without Dame Maggie Smith..I would love to see the series last longer since this is the one I look forward to…What a fantastic ensemble of talent!

  25. noreend says:

    I would hate to see Downton Abbey end but I hope that Dame Maggie Smith will continue until the end. The show wouldn’t be the same without her. The finale last night was one of the best DA shows so far but I had hoped Tom Branson would change his mind and stay. Mrs. Hughes and Carson geting married, how exciting!! That was the best scene of the show.

  26. Michele says:

    Say it isn’t so. I love Ms. Smith’s way of verbally smacking folks.

  27. Dee Hanten says:

    So refreshing…a good story, would hate to see Maggie leave it…she’s a hoot!!!!!

    • Jan Livett-Gullifer says:

      Maggie Smith is such an amazing actress – she is and always has been so varied in all the parts she has played – I bow to her talent – Jan G

  28. Debbie says:

    That isn’t what she said!!! She said that she can’t imagine that the character can go on because she’d be like 110 years old…but she didn’t say that she’s quitting… !! If Downton goes on beyond a 6th season, the public will be sure that she is in it:)

  29. NOT AT ALL Dame Meggie Smith, for God’s sake, you play the most wonderful character in this spectacular historical novel! Nothing in the series would be so attractive, classy, charmy, british, pleasant and joyful in Downton Abbey without you..!

  30. barbara hymers says:

    I thought the next season was the last anyway??

  31. Gary Johnson says:

    Dame Maggie! May you continue to give us what movies should be. You and Dame Dench make movies what they should be–classy.

  32. P. says:

    Maggie Smith is the reason I watch Downton Abbey. She’s just terrific and she steals every scene she’s in.

    Also, they give her all the best lines.

    Maggie, may you live forever.

  33. Denise says:

    She will be missed. She is a awesome!!!

  34. Jamie says:

    Maybe they could end it with a V2 rocket hitting the big house. The final scene is the dust settling, and then of course Anna and Bates flip open the cellar door and the whole staff emerge from the safety of downstairs. About as improbable as the rest of the plot lines. Maybe even get Richard GEAR as guest star :)

  35. Selena says:

    She’s amazing. The older actors on this show are every bit as compelling as the younger. So refreshing and wonderful to see!!

    • Bethanne says:

      Oh Jamie, you are too much! That is so funny. What you are saying is just as rediculous as some of the stories in the show. How about them taking a dog to die in between them in a bed made up of silk sheets! Also, after so many years supposedly passing not one person got any older or smarter. Oh yes, poor Isis is the only one that got old and passed on to Doggie Land.

  36. teri vital says:

    I love this show and all of its characters I love Maggie Smith and her character I think they are all great

  37. I love that the British know the limits of characters and a story rather than barreling through any kind of material just to reach 100 episodes for syndication approval. – ‘ ‘

    • David K says:

      What?!????? First of all, Downton should have ended after season 1, you don’t think money has been a factor in keeping it on this long?. Secondly, “Syndication” I think you’re showing your age, I don’t know many people who have cable anymore, much less watch repeats of old shows. Lol

      • Haha, if early 30s is showing my age, I’m in trouble. =) Yes, I agree that money has been a huge factor in keeping the enterprise going but with the exception of Series Four, I think each component of the show has been distinct.

      • John Hopper says:

        It actually shows on ITV long before it shows on PBS, with adverts.. What I see on PBS is actually a repeat of a programme already seen, just without the adverts, months after it was shown on ITV.

      • Kate White says:

        Downton Abbey is on PBS…not cable…is a critical and fan favourite, going into it’s sixth season; capturing a bit of history at early twentieth century. Not certain why David K. “thinks” Downton should’ve ended after season 1 and his talk of syndication…reflects much on master K’s novice and how wet behind the ears, he is…Master K would prefer that Downton have transformers, super heroes or car chases, instead of a plausible storyline.

      • Lex says:

        You’re comments are ridiculous. What a twit.

      • Selena says:

        If you don’t care for the show, don’t watch it. And if they’re showing their age, so what, are you an “ageist”? I’m 37, and honestly, at the end of the work day, I often just turn on my old cable, and “surf” until I find something entertaining. TV is not my life. It “fills in the blanks” though at the end of the day. And there are times I’m very happy to just watch an old Seinfeld episode to unwind. You sound like you need a hobby. If you’re THAT YOUNG, and are bashing someone for their age and having cable, (perhaps you can’t afford it), then you need to re-think your life plan.

    • Atomic Fury says:

      I agree. British television is so much better than what we have here in the United States. We have too many shows which then dilutes the quality.

      • Bryan says:

        breaking bad mad men game of thrones boardwalk empire masters of sex homeland the americans fargo house of cards archer better call saul the good wife orange is the new black justified always sunny in philadelphia rectify…

        you’re really going to argue, that in 2015, British TV is “so much better” than in the US? or that we have “embryos” playing the leads?? stop watching cbs/abc/fox.

      • jazz carpenter says:

        we also don’t have the acting power that they have in england…especially where age is concerned…in america, we have embryos playing the leads and a man and woman in their twenties or thirties would play the parents…in england, the man and woman would still be considered the children, playing alongside the likes of greats like ms. smith, judi dench and geoffrey palmer…

More TV News from Variety