Downton Abbey Series 6 was launched today with some of the cast and crew at the May Fair hotel in London. Star Maggie Smith was present and had much to say of the very last episodes of the show.

Downton Abbey Series 6 -Read Through, Mr Carson, Maggie Smith and Jeremy Swift
Downton Abbey Series 6 – Read Through, Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd February 2015, The Savoy Hotel. Jim Carter (Mr Carson), Maggie Smith (Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham) and Jeremy Swift (Spratt) ©2015 Carnival Film & Television, photo by Nick Briggs

Maggie Smith, who of course plays the Dowager Countess, Violet, said, ‘‘I’m just surprised that I got to the end because just before this I’d done about 10 years with Harry Potter.

She went on to say, “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!”

Maggie paid tribute to the crew “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.”

She continued, “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.”

Downton Abbey, 507 - Maggie Smith
Downton Abbey, 507 – Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) ©2014 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

The five times BAFTA-award winning was asked what she would be doing next, “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.”

Downton Abbey, 406 - Julian Ovenden, Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville
Downton Abbey, 406 – Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden), Violet, Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) ©2013 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs

In a few weeks time UK viewers will return to the sumptuous setting of Downton Abbey for the sixth and final season of this internationally acclaimed hit drama series.

As our time with the Crawleys begins to draw to a close, we see what will finally become of them all. The family and the servants, who work for them, remain inseparably interlinked as they face new challenges and begin forging different paths in a rapidly changing world.

US viewers will have long to wait with PBS airing the show from the start of 2016.

Downton Abbey Series 6 - Maggie Smith
Downton Abbey Series 6 – Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) with some of the other stars ©2015 Carnival Films, photo by Nick Briggs