Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith brands show ‘unsatisfying’ to work on as Violet Crawley ‘didn’t feel like acting’

DOWNTON Abbey’s Maggie Smith has branded the show "unsatisfying" to work on as playing Violet Crawley "didn’t feel like acting".

The 84-year-old actress won a legion of fans for her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in the hit ITV period drama.

But speaking to ES Magazine, Dame Maggie admitted she hadn't found that role – or her work on the Harry Potter movies – that challenging.

Comparing the two roles to her earlier career she said: "It seemed to take ages to get away from light comedy.

"I am deeply grateful for the work in Potter and indeed Downton, but it wasn’t what you’d call satisfying. "I didn’t really feel I was acting in those things.”

Despite her feelings towards her Downton character, her work on the show won her three Emmys and her third Golden Globe.

Dame Maggie's career spans almost 70 years, but she can't explain how she came to be an actress.

She said: "Honest to God, I have no idea where the urge [to act] came from. It was such a ghastly time and we didn't go to the theatre.

"I got into terrible trouble once because the neighbours took me to the cinema on a Sunday, but I had a wonderful teacher, Dorothy Bartholomew, who also taught Miriam Margolyes, and who encouraged me."

Maggie returned to the role of Violet for the Downton Abbey movie, which was released in September.

Earlier this week, the producer of the Emmy-Award winning behemoth revealed plans for a follow-up to the big-screen spin-off are underway after the first film smashed all expectations.

Gareth Neame, the executive producer, told The Hollywood Reporter: "We started vaguely thinking about it [a sequel] before the release of the movie. But we were kind of holding our breath.

"The reaction to the film, the press tour in the US and the build-up to release were so strong that we'd been thinking about it.

"And then it was clear from the first weekend that this was worth taking very seriously."



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