Maggie: I’m exhausted after Downton
Dame Maggie Smith thinks her Downton Abbey character fits her “like a glove”.
The double Oscar-winning actress has starred as the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley in the hit ITV period drama since it began in 2010. The final series will come to a close this winter and now that shooting has wrapped, the 80-year-old can reflect on the good and bad parts of being involved in the show.
“I’m exhausted now the filming is over, and all I want to do is to lie down and watch the box-sets, as I’ve never seen the show in full,” she confessed to MailOnline. “I don’t know how I’ve managed to get through it all. I feel as tired as one of Violet’s wigs.”
The star’s role in the series has received much acclaim from critics and fans, who wait with great anticipation for Violet’s next cutting remark. But Maggie insists she can’t take any credit for character’s acid tongue.
“That’s Downton’s writer, Lord [Julian] Fellowes. He wrote a lot of them for me in Gosford Park and I think he bore that in mind for this,” she explained. “I think that, unfortunately, the character of Violet fits me like a glove — she can be as mean as paint. However, I also think that deep down, where it counts, Violet’s actually very, very nice and has a heart of pure custard.”
Fans might be surprised to hear Maggie hasn’t always enjoyed being part of the show.
“The real me, on the other hand, gets very gritty when I have to be on set early on a cold morning, and sometimes at the end of the day I go home feeling a bit ashamed,” she said. “I feel like I have lived through most of what’s happened in Downton. I found the World War I episodes in series two really hard to deal with, the most difficult period to go near because I know much suffering went on during the war. My mother would never watch anything to do with it because she lost so much during it.”
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