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13 July 2018

Downton Abbey hater Maggie Smith signs on to Downton Abbey movie

The announcement comes a year after Dame Maggie said the show ruined her life and a film would be overkill.

By Media Mole

The makers of Downton Abbey today confirmed that the period drama is coming to the big screen – with the full original cast signed on to the project. Yes, including Dowager Countess and National Treasure™ Dame Maggie Smith.

We can only assume she’s absolutely delighted.

Dame Mags hasn’t always been thrilled by the prospect of the Downton franchise rumbling on. In April 2017, at the BFI and Radio Times Festival, she was asked by Mark Lawson if she’d accept a role in the film version were it offered to her. After a pause, she told the crowd, “I just think it’s squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean? I don’t know what it could possibly be.”

She claimed the format wouldn’t translate to the big screen: “It was so meandering, what would you do?”

She added, in reference to creator Julian Fellowes, “Anyway that’s not my problem. That’s the Lord’s problem.”

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She implied the film could only happen over the Dowager’s dead body. “I was firmly convinced it would start with the funeral,” she went on. “I could croak it and it would just start with the body.”

Dear old Margaret also credited the TV show with literally ruining her life. “I led a perfectly normal life until Downton Abbey. I’m not kidding. I’d go to theatres, I’d go to galleries, things like that on my own. And now I can’t and that’s awful. The Fulham Road’s dodgy!”

Asked if she’d seen the show, Dame Maggie replied, “I’ve not seen it. Ever.” When asked if she’d ever even seen clips, she threw back, “You’re forced to!”

The comments aren’t dissimilar to those she made on Graham Norton in October 2015, where she chuckled merrily as she told the host she was happy the show had finally come to an end. When Norton asked her if she was “glad” the show had finished, practically cut him off to insist, “Oh yeah! No, I really am.”

“No, because honestly, she was about—by the time we’re through—she must’ve been 110. So, I couldn’t go on and on and on. I couldn’t. It just didn’t make sense.” Asked then if she’d do a film spin-off she said, “I can’t. What age would she be?”

When asked if she watched the show, she didn’t dignify the question with a response, merely drawling, “I’ve got the box set.”

We at the New Statesman send our warmest congratulations to Maggie on what we can only assume must be an absolutely whopping cheque.

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