Dame Maggie Smith's performance in Downton Abbey is more than memorable, it's absolutely brilliant. But now in her eightieth year, the Dowager Countess has confirmed she is leaving the show after Series six.
She thinks Downton has run its course and can't see how it can possibly go on. "I certainly can't keep going, to my knowledge, I must be 110 by now, we're into the late 1920s."
The grand old lady is one of the reasons audiences all over the world got hooked on Downton Abbey, but if the writers know anything at all, they will quit while still on top, rather than run it into the ground.
The show's creator Julian Fellowes said "It's not really my decision, I don't own Downton Abbey now, NBC Universal owns it.....it won't go on forever, I'm not a believer in that, but I can't now tell you where the end will be."
Mr Fellowes plans to begin work on a pilot later this year for a new NBC drama titled "The Gilded Age" set in New York in the 19th Century.