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Maggie Smith was joking about leaving Downton Abbey, nervous publicist assures

In what is otherwise known as a “Tuesday morning,” beleaguered publicists for Maggie Smith had to rush in and clean up the damage wrought by the 80-year-old Downton Abbey star, after she made comments implying she would be leaving the series after next season. “I can’t see how it could go on. I mean, I certainly can’t keep going,” Smith told The Sunday Times, using the sort of blunt, salty language that has earned her a reputation as the octogenarian terrible of British television.

She then added, “To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now,” suggesting that if she were to stick with the show past a sixth season, her Dowager Countess character would finally be ancient enough to watch Downton Abbey.


But ha ha, that was all just a little joke, the quivering Milk Publicity nervously assured the Associated Press, saying that Smith “spoke lightheartedly” when she said flat out that the series seemed to have run its course. Her publicist added that, despite Smith’s whimsical jest that she’s already defying early 20th-century medical science by sticking around, she “has always been on the record as saying she’ll be with the show for as long as the show runs.”

Still, you’ll notice that statement doesn’t actually discount Smith’s opinion that the show can’t possibly go on much longer, as Smith’s publicist lives in constant fear.

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