Los Angeles - Dame Maggie Smith's Downton Abbey character "will never die".
The 80-year-old actress is currently filming scenes as the Dowager Countess of Grantham for the sixth and final series of the period drama, and the show's creator Lord Julian Fellowes has assured fans they don't need to worry about the demise of the much-loved character, despite her old age.
He insisted: "Maggie will never die!"
The Academy Award-winning writer made the promise after the Harry Potter star recently hinted her character could pass away as she "can't keep going".
She said: "I mean, I certainly can't keep going ... To my knowledge I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s."The show's 65-year-old creator has also teased viewers about what to expect in the final series - which will air later this year - revealing fan favourites are set to return throughout the string of episodes.
He confessed: "All the cast we said goodbye to in series five are all popping up in the final series.
"It will end on Christmas Day. It will be a two-hour special on Christmas night. I am pleased with the way the whole series is coming on actually."
And although Julian insists this is the final series of the ITV programme, he is open to creating a Hollywood adaptation as it would allow him to tell the story on a bigger ''scale''.
He told the Daily Mail newspaper: ''A film budget would allow us to do a 'Downton' story on a scale that is obviously not possible on television. There would be something to achieve that we couldn't achieve on television and that seems to me to be worthwhile.''
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