Newswire: Maggie Smith was joking about leaving Downton Abbey, nervous publicist assures

In what is otherwise known as a “Tuesday morning,” beleaguered publicists for Maggie Smith had to rush in and clean up the damage wrought by the 80-year-old Downton Abbey star, after she made comments implying she would be leaving the series after next season. “I can’t see how it could go on. I mean, I certainly can’t keep going,” Smith told The Sunday Times, using the sort of blunt, salty language that has earned her a reputation as the octogenarian terrible of British television.

She then added, “To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now,” suggesting that if she were to stick with the show past a sixth season, her Dowager Countess character would finally be ancient enough to watch Downton Abbey.

But ha ha, that was all just a little joke, the quivering Milk Publicity nervously assured the Associated Press, saying that Smith “spoke lightheartedly” when …

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