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Dame Maggie Smith Not Departing Downton Abbey After All?

Courtesy/PBS

Courtesy/PBS

This morning, we posted our recap of the season five finale of Downton Abbey and the news that spread like wildfire on Monday that Dame Maggie Smith told The Times in London that she would wrap her run as Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess at the completion of the upcoming sixth season of the British soap opera!

But not so fast!  Looks like the series PR team did some emergency damage control relating that Smith’s remarks were misinterpreted as she was suggesting she will leave the TV show after its sixth season later this year.

Milk Publicity said to The Associated Press on Tuesday that Smith spoke lightheartedly, and “has always been on the record as saying she’ll be with the show for as long as the show runs.”

However, since Downton Abbey is renewed a season at a time, it may not matter how long, or how short Smith wanted to stay, if season six proves to be the series last stand.

So, what do you think?  Is this a PR spin or was Smith out of Downton after season six if it continued? Share your thoughts below!

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janetShayPatricioMichael (not Fairman)Don H Recent comment authors
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jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

She brings a lot of class to an already classy show…wouldnt be the same without her!!!

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Some believe shows today need to have sex, nudity, gory violence and foul language to be with the times or no one will watch…DA proves that theory wrong and that all one needs is a classy well written drama and they(viewers of all ages) WILL watch…Bravo, Downtown Abbey!!!

maryjeans
maryjeans

Agree 100%. Uninspired writing needs sex and innuendo to get cheap laughs. Almost any line from DA could stand alone. The whole tone of the series spins a dream state. I often wish they would show two versions of a show or movie, one with all the cheap jokes and scenes removed for those of us who enjoy that. Bravo indeed to Downton Abbey and to PBS as well.

Shay
Shay

Amen to both notions, jimh!!! Downton Abbey is my absolutely all-time favorite program, and I cannot imagine a winter without it! It is always the perfect viewing option for those long, cold January/February Sunday nights, and such a treat after the hustle and bustle of the holidays! I look forward to it each and every year, and once the final episode of the season airs, it’s quite a letdown. While I sadly suspect we may be facing the end of the series, I certainly hope to the contrary. It is possible that all of this talk is merely a bargaining chip not only for Mr. Fellowes and his most precious program, but Dame Maggie, as well. Given she is a national treasure, she deserves every prerogative to make her tenure at Downton as lucrative as she can, particularly given her advancing age and formidable talent….this woman IS the heart of the show! I also think that perhaps her words were taken a bit out of context….it seems that she was simply stating the obvious….that her character was near to reaching her logical date of expiration, and as such, how much longer could she realistically survive??? All I know is that I want Downton to last as long as is feasible, whether in the form of prequel/sequel, a yearly Christmas special, or even feature film. And if that means we must be deprived of “The Gilded Age” on these shores, then so be it. No matter how fantastic it may be in theory, I cannot fathom that it could possibly surpass the quality of the original Downton , especially in the absence of a sublime muse like The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet Crawley! Long may she live!

Rodd
Rodd

I wholeheartedly agree, Jimh!

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

Isn’t it interesting that despite the success of DA, which I think has shown there is an audience out there desperately craving the kind of programming it represents (good writing, good acting, not relying on cheap stunts, graphic violence, overt sexuality, etc.), we keep hearing, pretty much, from the U.S. networks that shows like that “can’t succeed” and they keep doing the same kind of programming they’ve been doing and that is gradually losing audiences.

Ditto for the daytime soaps specifically. I think DA is prime proof that there’s still an audience out there for what I would call “traditional soap,” and yet nobody’s tried that formula in at least two decades on daytime, in favor of gimmicky storytelling and cheap ratings stunts (that aren’t working–look at the ratings!). Go figure.

Shay
Shay

So true, @Michael not Fairman)!!! Downton manages to portray romance, relationships and all other aspects of life for both young and old with the greatest levels of gentility and good taste, and we cannot get enough it! Even the love scenes are always dealt with in a classy manner. And yet….look at the raunchy, trashy antics to which we are treated on American daytime drama to the obvious delight of a small, but most vocal minority here at this very website. No doubt they would be thrilled beyond belief were Edith to become a 3X3 unwed mother with plenty of “who’s the daddy” candidates, Mary and her next beau to share a snappy shag on Matthew’s grave, Robert and Cora to tease a three-way with Simon Bricker, Carson and Mrs. Hughes to get their freak on in her sweet, but simple, sitting room, Isobel and Lord Merton to suffer carpet burns after a vigorous roll on the sumptuous oriental rugs and of course, the Dowager Countess to loosen her corset and flash Spratt whilst swinging from her crystal chandeliers in the adulterous company of Prince Kuragin….or perhaps even a toy boy! Oh, the humanity! Of course, I say it all in jest, but it is merely my way of illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

Shay
Shay

Right you are, jimh, but I’ve been thinking: Downtown has had an Ivy, a Daisy and Rose, two Marigolds, and of course, the inimitable Violet! Isn’t it time for a “Hyacinth?” (As in “The Lady of House,” Bu-cket?) I adore Patricia Routledge and would love to see her pay a visit to the Abbey before it closes its doors for the final time. Seems rather appropriate, wouldn’t you say, since this show is the ultimate example of “Keeping Up Appearances?”

louisa
louisa

I always thought her comments were blown out of proportion. I hope Dame Maggie and Downton are with us for many, many years to come! It is one the best TV shows ever.

Don H
Don H

Louisa. I agree with you. I wish they had 30 episodes a season instead of 8 or 9. That’s one show I can’t get enough of.

Patricio
Patricio

Ms.Smith is the heart and soul od the show not to mention the comic relief. The show would survive without her, however,it would be a diminished show.

Shay
Shay

You are most welcome, Patricio!!!! I heartily agree with your sentiments regarding Dame Maggie….I absolutely love her! As an avid Downton fan, I eagerly read every piece of information available as to the developments of the show, so I am more than happy to share it with like-minded posters. By the way, filming of Series 6 has just commenced in the UK, and is being covered in the British press on an almost daily basis.

Shirley Strickler
Shirley Strickler

Most of all I’ll miss Tom can’t believe they are shipping him to America, loved him and Mary together:(

Don H
Don H

Shirley, you have to remember that this show was scripted early last year and filmed during the summer when it was thought that season 5 would be the last season. THEN it was picked up for season 6. So, last Sunday’s finale was supposed to be the end of the show, so some story lines were wrapped up. It quite possible that Tom Branson could come back. Frankly, I hope he does.

lizzy
lizzy

Dame Maggie Smith is and always has been wonderful in whatever she is in and she would not suffer one bit without Downton but the viewers would and so would Downton.

Shay
Shay

Here, here, Lizzy! However, as you probably already know by now, the real question is not if Dame Maggie and her irrepressible Violet will be around for Season 7, but if there will indeed be a Season 7 at all! I have been reading with great interest in the British press on this very subject, and apparently, the call is not down to Julian Fellowes because he doesn’t own the show…NBC does. Hence, it is in their hands to choose how long Downton remains, although Mr. Fellowes seems to at least have creative control over his product since he is the sole writer. That leads me to surmise that the future of the Abbey comes down to how long the American network is willing to wait for the debut of his next project, “The Gilded Age.”

Patricio
Patricio

Hello shay thank you for you’re “insider tip” which makes perfect selse to me.

janet
janet

I can say I really enjoy the show, want Violet to return. I also got the idea she was saying, how long do you think Violet can go on, Not Maggie.

Breaking News

IT’S OFFICIAL: Downton Abbey The Movie To Go Into Production This Summer

The highly-anticipated and rumored revival of Downton Abbey to the big screen is on!  Production is slated to begin later this summer.

From what we understand, all of the original cast is set to reprise their signature roles in the motion picture, written by series creator Julian Fellowes.

Fellowes will also serve as the executive producer along with other ‘Downton’ notables behind the scenes: Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge, and Nigel Marchant. Brian Percival is set to direct.  Percival also directed the pilot episode of the critically-acclaimed and beloved period soap opera series.

In a statement, Gareth Neame expressed: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.  Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

Focus Features chairman, Peter Kujawski, shared: “Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter. We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

Downton Abbey ran for six seasons on PBS  and received 15 Primetime Emmy awards and 69 nominations.

Actress Joanne Froggatt, who plays maid Anna Bates, took to Twitter with much enthusiasm at the news: “Delighted to announce we’re getting the band back together! #DowntonMovie #DowntonAbbey”

So, thrilled to hear the Downton Abbey movie is happening? Comment below.

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Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Movie Project Moving Forward; Projected For Production In 2018

Courtesy/PBS

It looks like all of those earlier reports months ago about a production being put together for Downton Abbey: The Movie, may finally becoming to fruition. Numerous items detail that motion picture project is moving forward with production slated for sometime next year.

Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, told the AP: “We are working on getting the script right and then we’ve got to figure out how to get the (cast) together. Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we’re hopeful to make a movie sometime next year.”

Currently, the cast and writer Julian Fellowes have been on hand at the Downton Abbey exhibition which debuted in Singapore. However, some notable members of the company seemed surprised by the news including Laura Carmichael (Edith): “Well, tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know. We’re hoping that will happen soon.”

Variety reports that an NBCUniversal spokesman confirmed the studio hopes to put the movie into production in 2018.

The Downton Abbey exhibition however, is set to travel to the United States and Australia with dates to be announced. (more…)

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Downton Abbey

SAG AWARD NOMINATIONS: Downton Abbey Scores Drama Series Ensemble Nod; This Is Us Star Sterling K. Brown Tapped For Two!

Courtesy/ITV

Nominations were announced this morning for the 23rd Annual SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards for performances in motion pictures and television.

The awards ill be handed out Sunday, January 29th at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles. The ceremony will air live at 8/7c (5 p.m./PT) on both TBS and TNT.

For its sixth and final season, the British period soap, Downton Abbey once again made the finals in the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama.  They will go up against, The Crown, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and Westworld.  On the snub side: the widely acclaimed and highly-rated This Is Us failed to score a nomination in the category.

In addition, this is the first time that Dame Maggie Smith did not wind up with a Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination for her performance as the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey. (more…)

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