Dame Maggie Smith hints at Downton Abbey departure

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Dame Maggie Smith has hinted that she will leave Downton Abbey after the show's sixth series. The actress, who has played a leading role in the period drama since it began in 2010, said she "can't keep going" on the ITV1 show.

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

The 80-year-old also said that she finds the filming schedule exhausting, adding: "Television really does you in."

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Dame Maggie Smith has hinted she may leave Downton Abbey

Dame Maggie plays Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in the hugely popular show. Despite being happy about Downton Abbey's success, she admitted that there have been downsides to working on the show, including the level of fame it has brought her.

"One isn't safe after doing Downton," she said. "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."

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actress also said she's not a fan of taking selfies.

"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.

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The actress said she doesn't like taking selfies with fans

"There's nothing like privacy, but nobody will have that soon. Nobody's private anymore."

Dame Maggie's revealing interview follows speculation that the sixth series of the drama will be the last. Creator Julian Fellowes is set to start work on a new US period drama The Gilded Age and it is thought he won't have time for two such big projects.

Meanwhile The Mirror reported that some of the actors have already started looking for work.

"Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer," a source said. "Some are interested in the US, where Downton is as popular as it is in the UK."

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