The one character who can go toe-to-toe with Lady Mary’s dour-faced shade-throwing and emerge victorious will depart “Downton Abbey” at the end of next season.
Pardon the sniffles, but if anything calls for weeping in your pudding, it’s this. For five seasons, Maggie Smith, 80, has ruled “Downton” as the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley. Lady Grantham, as she’s also known, is so old she’s earned the right to say whatever she likes, and this has resulted in five years worth of highly Tumblr-friendly retorts. Bless us, every one, for Maggie Smith is nothing if not showrunner Julian Fellowes’s designated zinger-delivery system.
Here’s the silver lining, serious “Downton” adherents: Maybe this will force Fellowes to finally give Lady Edith a spine, assuming the show runs past six seasons. Oh please, who are we kidding? At this point we might as well just rename Edith “Lady Long-Suffering Doormat” and be done with it. Besides, Smith’s departure just adds to the evidence that “Downton” will wrap after six seasons given that Fellowes, who writes the show by himself, is eager to get started on a new period project for NBC.
“The Gilded Age,” which was announced two years ago, will focus on American aristocracy in late 19th century New York. In January, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said he was hoping that the show would be “coming to life sometime in the next season.”
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Smith dropped the news in an interview with the Sunday Times, where she also revealed her disdain for selfies, something with which the Dowager Countess would most certainly agree.
“What’s awful is it used to be just autographs, but now everyone wants photographs,” Smith said. “You begin to feel like all those people who believed photographs took the soul away. There’s nothing like privacy, but nobody will have that soon. Nobody’s private any more.”