Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dowager Countess to outlive Downton Abbey... even though character played by Dame Maggie Smith must be 110 by now

PUBLISHED: 18:59 EST, 2 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:05 EST, 3 May 2015

She is as much a part of Downton Abbey as its Bath Stone walls – and just as imposing. So it is only right that the redoubtable Dowager Countess of Grantham will remain a constant of the ITV show right until the very end.

By some reckoning the formidable Crawley family matriarch, played by Dame Maggie Smith, would be 110 at the time the final series is set. But it seems that even the Grim Reaper is so intimidated by the prospect of her withering putdowns that the character will not be killed off.

Lord Fellowes, the Oscar winning creator of the show confirmed the news, saying: ‘Maggie will never die!’

The disclosure that Violet will survive to the end of the final episode – to air on Christmas Day – will be welcomed by the show’s 120 million fans worldwide.

The Dowager Countess is by far the most popular character and has remained stubbornly alive even though pundits have been predicting her demise ever since the show launched in 2010.

And it has been suggested that the Dowager Countess’s death would be the obvious way of bringing the curtain down on the global franchise.

It would certainly be her time. Downton Abbey’s first series was set in 1912, when the character was already in her dotage. The forthcoming sixth series is set more than a decade later.

And he revealed: ‘All the cast we said goodbye to in series five are all popping up in the final series.
‘It will end on Christmas Day. It will be a two-hour special on Christmas night. I am pleased with the way the whole series is coming on actually.’

He declined to be drawn on specifics about the plots, although fans are hoping that butler Carson and housekeeper Mrs Hughes will finally tie the knot following his proposal in last year’s Christmas Day episode.

Fellowes said he wouldn’t write his new American television series The Gilded Age, set among the high- society families of New York in the late 19th Century, until he had finally completed work on the last scripts for Downton.

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