Maggie Smith Plans to Leave 'Downton Abbey' After Next Season

Maggie Smith - Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie

Maggie Smith, winner of Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

"To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s."

The sixth season of Downton Abbey could be the last we see of the Dowager Countess of Grantham if Maggie Smith has her way. 

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Smith, who recently turned 80, said that the next season will be her last, irrespective of the speculation of whether the sixth season will be the final season of Downton. "They say this is the last one, and I can't see how it could go on," Smith said, adding: "I mean, I certainly can't keep going ... To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s."

Smith's witty and cutting Dowager Countess has been one of Downton's most popular and memorable characters and has won her critical acclaim too with two Emmys and a Golden Globe, but the fame and notice hasn't always been to her liking. "One isn't safe after doing Downton. What's sad is I've gone through my whole life without any of that. I could go around galleries and things on my own and I just can't do it now. If someone decides to get at you, you can't get away," she said.

Unsurprisingly, Smith isn't a fan of selfie culture. "What's awful is it used to be just autographs, but now everyone wants photographs. 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."

Smith is currently starring in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel alongside Judi Dench, Richard Gere and Bill Nighy.