The award-winning actress jokes she thought she wouldn’t make it to the end of filming

Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith has revealed she’s shocked to have made it to the end of filming for the last series of the hit ITV drama show.

The 80-year-old actress, who plays the Dowager Countess, Violet, joked at a screening of the first episode of the final series that she never thought she’d make it to the end!

‘I’m just surprised that I got to the end because just before this I’d done about 10 years with Harry Potter. So I felt very old indeed by the time I got to the Dowager. I’m honestly just surprised that I got through it and I’m still here,’ she said.

Maggie, who will continue to star alongside Michelle Dockery in the show, continued: ‘It was extraordinary and incredibly reassuring to see these people day after day and know that they were the first people there and they were last people to go. You’ve no idea how incredibly exhausting that must be. I do not know how it’s done, quite honestly. And there they are, all of them, and always in a very good mood, which I can’t say for myself.’

Asked what she would be doing next, she replied: ‘I’m going to be lying down. I believe for quite a some time. The other thing I will be doing is watching it. I will get the box set and have a good look. I certainly haven’t watched anything that I’ve done. I have seen some of it. But I want to sit down and look at it all.’

And it sound slike the final episode is going to be totes emoshe. Talking about filming, executive producer Gareth Neame said: ‘It’s an incredibly emotional, moving scene in the very last episode. I can tell you that quite a few tears were shed by grown men in the form of butlers and footmen that I never expected to see.’

We’re sobbing about the fact it’s nearly over already.

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Lisa Blake