Reports of the Dowager Countess’ (Maggie Smith) “Downton Abbey” departure may have been a bit exaggerated. As previously reported, Smith told the Sunday Times that she would not continue her role as Lady Violet after Season 6 wrapped. However, now a publicist is clarifying her remarks.
“I mean, I certainly can't keep going,” the actress said (via Radio Times). “To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s.”
Apparently, she wasn’t that certain. A publicist from Milk Publicity told the Associated Press that Smith “has always been on the record as saying she'll be with the show for as long as the show runs.”
However, being “on the record” is different than signing a contract. No one is guaranteed to stay on "Downton Abbey" beyond Season 6. “The actors’ contracts expire at the end of Season 6 and, save for one or two possible exceptions, they want outta there,” TV Line reports.
Fans know that this isn’t the first time it’s been suggested that actors want to leave. In January, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt and Allen Leech were rumored to be looking for roles in the U.S. Leech even suggested that “Downton Abbey” had to end within another season or two.
“In my heart of hearts, I can't see it going more than two [seasons] more,” Leech told E! Online in the fall. “I think the period of time we want to tell, we're coming to the end that us as actors we can keep playing these characters.”
The future of “Downton Abbey” will remain unknown for now. News of the show’s renewal won’t be out until Season 6 airs in the U.K., and that won’t be until later this year.