Downton Abbey's Dame Maggie Smith is 'fine and well at home' after rumours of heart scare
14:16 GMT, 4 November 2012
Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith has confirmed she is 'fine and well at home', despite rumours she was rushed to hospital with a heart scare.
The reports had raised fears the actress would not be fit to film a new series of the hit drama.
Dame Maggie, who plays Violet Crawley in the hit ITV1 period drama, was reportedly admitted to a specialist cardiac unit on Friday, after complaining of severe pains.
Beloved by tens of millions: Dame Maggie in her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham
The actress underwent a series of
emergency tests at the private Wellington Hospital in London, and was
discharged later the same day once doctors were confident her condition
was stable, the Sunday Mirror had reported.
The reports prompted fears the 77-year-old would have to consider advice from doctors before deciding whether to sign up to the next series, and may not return for the fourth installment at all.
However a spokeswoman said today of the award-winning actress: 'She is fine and well at home.'
It is thought the reports emerged after Dame Maggie visited her doctor for a routine medical procedure.
Formidable: Dame Maggie as the Dowager with Michelle Dockery as Lady Marry in the third series of Downton Abbey
On stage: Maggie Smith as Elizabeth in The Lady From Dubuque at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London in 2007
Dame Maggie in beloved by tens of millions of fans of Downton in her role as Dowager Countess of Grantham, the formidable and witty matriarch.
Her future in the series has been plagued with uncertainty as the actor reportedly does not sign contracts in the same way that many of her co-stars do.
Series creator Lord Julian Fellowes revealed earlier this year he would do everything in his power to keep Dame Maggie – who has won two Emmy awards for her role – as part of the drama for as long as she is able.
Key character: Dame Maggie Smith in the third series of Downton Abbey with Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham (right)
Treading the boards: Dame Maggie's Downton co-star Dan Stevens (who plays Matthew Crawley) pictured last night leaving his Broadway play The Heiress
He said: ‘Dame Maggie will be in this show for as long as she wants to be and I can tell you that even if she doesn’t want to be, she won’t die, she’ll go to the seaside just in case she wants to come back.’
He added: ‘With Maggie, you never know. Others sign on for the next series and they sign for this and they sign for that, but she doesn’t. She stays her own person. But as far as I’m concerned I hope she stays with the show until Downton falls down.’
The actress has suffered health issues in the past. She fought breast cancer in 2008 and at the time feared she would have to turn her back on theatre after chemotherapy and radiotherapy left her ‘flattened’ with no energy or confidence.
She said at the time: ‘It takes the wind out of your sails, and I don’t know what the future holds, if anything.'
Dame Maggie insisted on completing her sixth appearance as Harry Potter schoolmistress Minerva McGonaghall in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while having radiation therapy.
She is regarded as one of the country's pre-eminent actresses, with a prolific stage and screen career spanning 50 years and film credits including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, A Room with a View, Gosford Park and Tea With Mussolini.
The third series of Downton comes to a dramatic close this evening in a 90-minute special.
The great-niece of the Dowager Countess of Grantham arrives – only to shock her family when it’s revealed she is having an affair with a married man.
Fans of the drama will see Lady Rose, 18, played by Lily James, warned off the affair by her brother-in-law Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens).
Warning: Matthew Crawley urges Lady Rose to end the affair in the season finale