Cheeky Countess: Actress Maggie Smith Has Never Actually Seen Downton Abbey

You really think she could be bothered with such tawdry entertainment?

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CARNIVAL FILM & TELEVISION

Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, left, and Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson.

Turns out the actress behind the quick-witted Dowager Countess has never even watched her role in Downton Abbey.

Dame Maggie Smith, who plays matriarch Lady Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey, claims in a 60 Minutes interview on CBS Sunday night, “I haven’t actually seen it, so I don’t — I don’t sit down and watch it.”

(MORE“I Must Have Said It Wrong”: Decoding Downton Abbey’s Television DNA)

That would mean she hasn’t seen the horrified expression on her face when she tries out a new modern world invention like the swivel chair, or her deadpan delivery of one-liners such as, “One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We’d all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper.”

Though these performances seem effortless, the Oscar-winning actress, who has won two Emmys for her role, admitted she’s quite a perfectionist. She told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft that she’s afraid of “agonizing” over her role. Smith lamented, “It’s frustrating. I always see things that I would like to do differently and think, ‘Oh, why in the name of God did I do that?'”

Smith became a household name when she starred as the spunky private school teacher in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), adapted from the Muriel Spark novel.

(MORE: Downton Abbey Watch: Endings)

Smith’s interview, which aired Sunday, coincided with the third-season finale of the Emmy award-winning Downton Abbey, which follows the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants in early twentieth-century Britain.

16 comments
jdeuberry
jdeuberry

@TIME > I believe she wld simply say, "I do not need to watch, dear. I was there".

roshandoug
roshandoug

@TIME it's bloody crap, that's why!

sahdiaawan3
sahdiaawan3

@TIME neither have I planning to have a marathon session and watch it all ..... oné day

enigmacunundrum
enigmacunundrum

@TIME she would tell you to write about something more profound and educational.

darkpentagram
darkpentagram

@TIME the reason is its so old crap and boring as paint she cant stand to watch it.

darkpentagram
darkpentagram

@TIME oh at downton abbeys we are ready to move in some migrants and have a wine and cheese party.

darkpentagram
darkpentagram

@TIME oh i will have to pull a cord and get some slave to sort out a bit of tea and cucumber sandwiches, after that i need a face lift.

angelahong13
angelahong13

She doesn't need to see it to know she's great!“@TIMENewsFeed:Maggie Smith has never actually seen 'Downton Abbey' | http://t.co/LTBQdWpE

heycori
heycori

The dowager's above it RT @TIMENewsFeed: Alert: Maggie Smith has never actually seen 'Downton Abbey' | http://t.co/ImOthW4V

formerlyjames
formerlyjames like.author.displayName 1 Like

I think she is a brilliant actress, and I found her interview to be another display of that talent.  Wouldn't take any of it on face value.