Dame Maggie Smith has hinted that she will leave Downton Abbey after the next season, saying, "...to my knowledge, I must be 100 by now." Smith, who recently turned 80 in real life, said she couldn't imagine continuing on the show, which is rumoured to be coming to an end anyway.

Maggie SmithMaggie Smith could leave Downton Abbey after the next season

"They say this is the last one, and I can't see how it could go on," Smith told the Sunday Times, "I mean, I certainly can't keep going... To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s."

Smith's Dowage Countess character is arguably the highlight of Downton Abbey and she's won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her performances.

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"One isn't safe after doing Downton. What's sad is I've gone through my whole life without any of that. I could go round galleries and things on my own and I just can't do it now. If someone decides to get at you, you can't get away," she said.

Elsewhere in an illuminating interview, Smith was quizzed on "selfie" culture and the response could have been written for the Dowager herself.

"What's awful is it used to be just autographs, but now everyone wants photographs. You begin to feel like all those people who believed photographs took the soul away. There's nothing like privacy, but nobody will have that soon. Nobody's private any more," she said.

Smith is currently starring in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with Judi Dench, Richard Gere and Bill Nighy. The movie has scored positive reviews and looks likely to spawn a third movie. 

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