Maggie Smith to quit Downton Abbey?

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Dame Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie Smith

The future of a number of 'Downton Abbey' stars, including Dame Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens are said to be in doubt as they have not yet signed for any longer than three series of the hit drama.

Dame Maggie Smith could be set to quit 'Downton Abbey'.

The 77-year-old actress is said to be considering her future as the elderly Dowager Countess of Downton and has not yet entered negotiations for a fourth and fifth series of the drama.

Dan Stevens - who plays Matthew Crawley - has also not yet extended his contract, whereas it is claimed Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery have already signed up beyond their current commitments to series three.

A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "'Downton Abbey' has a history of major surprises, and the producers are not opposed to changing casting within the show to add to the drama.

"But it's hard to imagine the series without Maggie Smith or Dan Stevens involved in some way.

"To write the Dowager Countess out of the series, or even kill off the character, would be Downton's boldest storyline yet."

Maggie's agent confirmed she hasn't even begun negotiations about series four, but declined to comment further.

Respected industry website TV Line also claimed Siobhan Finneran and Jessica Brown Findlay - who play Miss O'Brien and Lady Sybil Crawley respectively - are stalling over new contracts.

However, show bosses insist there is no cause for concern.

A spokesman for producers Carnival said: "We are currently filming series three of 'Downton Abbey' in which all the cast have returned.

"ITV have not yet commissioned a fourth and fifth series which, if they happen, would be a long way off."

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