Maggie Smith has reportedly requested to be written out of the hit PBS drama Downton Abbey.
The 77-year-old British actress will film until August and then hopes to leave the show. “She thinks that three series is enough and she wants to get back to the stage and big screen,” the U.K.’s Daily Mail reports.
Smith’s Dowager Countess is a key character on the show, providing that all-too perfect blend of civility and sass. The Daily Mail’s source says the Dowager will likely be stricken with a fatal illness at the end of the next season, which is currently filming.
Will you still watch Downton Abbey without the Dowager and her stinging one-liners?
UPDATE: Calm down, everyone. It looks like the Dowager Countess isn't going anywhere. Carnival Films, the company that coproduces Downton Abbey with PBS's Masterpiece, says that the Daily Mail's report of Smith's departure is “complete nonsense.”
A rep for the company added, “We never comment on future story lines but it’s not true that she’s leaving.” Phew. Now we can sleep tonight.
Source: The Wrap