“In the theatre you can say “I’ll have another go tomorrow” but film….. it’s forever!” MAGGIE SMITH on Fame, Waiting Around, and Watching It Back.

Dame MAGGIE SMITH, has enjoyed a remarkable career spanning more than six decades but it was her performance as Dowager Countess of Grantham in ITV’s costume drama DOWNTOWN ABBEY that completely transformed her life forever.

“I led a perfectly normal life until Downton Abbey”

Here she talks to Mark Lawson as part of the BFI + Radio Times TV festival, about fame, why she never watches her work back, and the challenges of waiting around for hours, sometimes days, on set:

The people who can really control themselves and deliver whenever are just brilliant because I think that’s the hardest thing to do. When you’ve been trapped in a trailer for hours on end and then expected to come out and be all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed….I find that the hardest thing.


I really don’t (watch it back) because you can’t do anything about it. In the theatre at least you can say “I’ll have another go tomorrow”….. but film….. it’s forever! There’s no going back.





A wonderfully insightful interview.


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