Say it ain't so Dame Maggie Smith! According to UK tabloid The Mirror, Dowager Countess, played by Dame Maggie Smith, and the "Abbey's" resident heartthrob Matt Crawley may not be returning to the estate for Seasons 4 and 5. When I first heard the news I was nothing but astounded and upset.
"I couldn't have electricity in the house, I wouldn't sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about."
TV Line recently reported that most of the principal cast of "Downton Abbey" have signed new contracts to star in both Seasons 4 and 5: Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora), Hugh Bonneville (Robert), Joanne Froggatt (Anna) and Brendan Coyle (Bates) are among the returning cast members. However, Siobhan Finneran, who stars as the much hated housekeeper Miss O'Brien, and Jessica Brown Findlay, who plays Lady Sybil Branson, have yet to sign on for future seasons.
I have been told that sometimes we need to take everything we read in The Daily Mirror with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila but the paper reports that Smith is seriously considering her future on the Golden Globe-winning period drama. The Mirror has also confirmed that Smith has yet to sign on or even enter negotiations for future seasons of "Downton" after Season 3.
All I can say is that the series, Monarch of the Glen, died a slow, dreadful death after Hector was killed off and if Maggie Smith leaves Downton Abbey, it will be the ruin of the show.
"Downton Abbey" season 3 is currently in production in the UK, where American actress Shirley MacLaine is guest starring as Lady Crawley's mother. It seems like it is an interesting idea to bring the elderly hoofer onto the scene who is the same age as Smith. Will she reprise one of her characters as in "Terms of Endearment" to play the empress from the other side of the pond?
“I hate Greek Drama where everything happens off stage"
Honestly, if I was the 77 year old actor, with a pretty active film and theatre career I'd probably be thinking about sitting around drinking tea all day. But, at her age, and with her recent health history, the decision is hers, and we should all respect it as we want nothing to happen to beloved Smith.
"One can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We'd all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper."
Maggie Smith is to Downton what Jerry Orbach was to the original Law & Order; characters with smart one-liners. ITV has yet to commission Seasons 4 and 5, which may have something to do with why Smith and Stevens are holding off on contract negotiations. But seriously; writer and producer Julian Fellowes, you need to give Dame Maggie anything her little heart desires to keep her in The Abbey.
"What else do you need ? Are you thinking of a career in banking?"
The Duchess is snide, snobbish and stuck in her old ways on the one hand, yet tender and quick to change on the other. A wonderful three-dimensional character and her departure would diminish the show and one might say I might have to dress in black mourning her loss if she were to leave.
"No one wants to kiss a girl in black."
Smith will appear in the upcoming film, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which will be released in the U.S. on May 4. In contrast to her high-class role on "Downton," in the film, she plays an ex-housekeeper who has finally retired.
"What is a weekend?
I realize that elderly characters have to die sometimes but maybe instead of a mortal demise, how about a Dowager cougar to run off with the next chauffeur!
"In these situations, one can always find an Italian who isn't too picky.'
Don't make me cross the Atlantic, Maggie to convince you to stay as Abbey will never be an Abbey without you Maggie Smith.
"Is this an instrument of communication, or torture?"
Linda Seccaspina 2012-Menopausal Woman from the Corn
Photos from Google