Dame Maggie Smith: “I’ve never actually seen Downton Abbey”

Award-winning actress who plays Violet Crawley says she avoids the ITV period drama because she would end up scrutinising her own work


She’s earned heaps of plaudits for her portrayal of Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey, but Dame Maggie Smith has never actually seen an episode of the hit ITV period drama.


The 78-year-old actress says that she’s avoided watching the show thus far because she wouldn’t be able to avoid scrutinising her performance and thinking about things she would like to have done differently.

During an interview with the US chat show 60 Minutes, which will air in the US this Sunday, Smith said that she might be more tempted to tune in to Downton once the show comes to an end.

Asked by host Steve Kroft whether she was proud of the programme, Dame Maggie stalled before replying: “I was just pausing because I’ve never actually seen it. I don’t sit down and watch it. No, I haven’t watched it.”

Her admission was met with incredulity from Kroft, who said that she must be “the only person in England” not to have seen the programme.

”Well, that’s a record then isn’t it, of some sort?” replied the Dame.

She continued: “I will look at it when it’s all over, maybe, because it’s frustrating – I always see things that I would like to do differently, and think ‘why in the name of God did I do that?'”

Asked, what she got out of the show if she didn’t actually sit down to see the finished product, Dame Maggie said: “It’s the delight of acting.”

Dame Maggie has appeared in all three series of Downton Abbey and has won numerous awards for her performances in the series, including a Golden Globe, a Primetime Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild Award.


Watch a clip of Dame Maggie’s 60 Minutes interview below: