Maggie Smith at the BFI London Film Festival screening of "The Lady in the Van" on October 13, 2015. File Photo by Paul Treadway/UPI | License Photo
LONDON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Maggie Smith says she's not the reason Downton Abbey is ending.
The 81-year-old actress talked to NPR's Morning Edition on Tuesday, three weeks after the ITV series' final episode. Smith had announced she would leave after Season 6 in May, causing some to speculate she influenced the show's decision to end completely.
"No -- this is absolutely not true," she said. "In fact, I phoned our dear producer Liz Trubridge the other day, and I said, 'Now, what is this? I'd heard that somebody had said...' -- it was the paper or something. And she said, 'No, that's absolutely rubbish.' I mean, it's come to its end."
Smith played dowager countess Violet Crawley on the series, with Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley and Michelle Dockery as Mary Crawley. The series skyrocketed the cast to even greater fame, sometimes to the actress' surprise.
"I find it very odd to be recognized," the star said. "I've spent a very long time without that happening to me. And it's a very, very strange sensation ... Sometimes it's very nice. But sometimes, you just would like to be on your own, to do things on your own, without thinking about whether you're going to be stalked or asked to pose for one of those wretched cellphone things."
Downton Abbey completed Season 6 in November, and aired its final episode, the show's annual Christmas special, on Dec. 25. Smith joked about her future after the series in August, telling reporters, "I'm going to be lying down."
"I believe [I'll be lying down] for quite some time," she said. "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."
Smith has won a number of awards, including two Oscars and three Emmys, for her contributions to the stage, television and film. She last appeared in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with Judi Dench, and will next star in The Lady in the Van with Alex Jennings.