Dame Maggie Smith: Hero or Villain?
Sunday 17 February 2013
What would the staff say? Nothing – they don't have tellies, do they. So, it looks as though the Dowager has got away with it – in her own house, at least. We won't let her off so easily, though. Oi, Smitty … what do you mean you've not watched a single episode of Downton Abbey?
Yes, Dame Maggie has admitted on American television that she has never joined the 11 million of us who regularly tuned-in to the goings-on at the stately home. But before you start dabbing at your forehead in distress, let's consider more fully her reasons why.
"I will look at it when it's all over, maybe, because it's frustrating," she explained. "I always see things I would like to do differently, and think, 'Why in the name of God did I do that?' "
What a pro! Even at 78, after more than half a century in the business, one of the world's most distinguished actresses is still as obsessed with perfection as ever. Miss Jean Brodie would be proud.
There's no vanity here, either. While actors stereotypically barely pass a mirror without sneaking a peek, this two-time Academy Award winner happily allows her visage to pass across the screen for three entire series without so much as a passing interest in how she might appear now she is in her dotage.
Asked how she took joy from the role if she didn't watch the finished product, Dame Maggie replied: "The delight of acting."
It is a purity of satisfaction that has been evident throughout her career. Of nabbing the Oscar for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, she has said: "It didn't make any difference whatsoever … a lot of people win and don't get much work afterwards …. We were opening a play at the National, so I didn't go [to the ceremony]."
Neither did she turn up at the Emmys to pick up either of her awards for her role as Lady Grantham. That's not snobbery. That (and we may be betraying here what we think of the Emmys) is countess-standard class.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial first week: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Malaysia Airlines plane: Oil slick is first sign that missing flight crashed into sea killing up to 239 on board
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Competitive: Nielsen: We are seeking an enthusiastic intern with a passionate ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are currently ...
Plus benefits: Sherrards Solicitors LLP: Sherrards is an equal opportunities e...