Dame Maggie Smith has revealed she has never watched a single episode of her ratings hit Downton Abbey.

The 78-year-old actress who plays Lady Grantham in the ITV series said she would find it too frustrating to see things she could have done better. But in an interview for the US TV show 60 Minutes, she said she may well tune in after she leaves the programme.

downton abbey
Dame Maggie's Dowager Countess is one of the most popular characters in 'Downton Abbey'

Asked whether she was proud of the programme, she responded: "I was just pausing because I've never actually seen it. I don't sit down and watch it. No, I've never watched it."

The veteran screen star has appeared in all three series of the period drama which has drawn huge Sunday night audiences, and has now become a Christmas Day fixture.

Presenter Steve Kroft pointed out that she was possibly "the only person in England" who had not seen it.

Dame Maggie replied: "Well, that's a record then isn't it, of some sort?"

She went on: "I will look at it when it's all over, maybe, because it's frustrating - I always see things that I would like to do differently, and think 'why in the name of God did I do that?'."

The programme has also become a major hit in the US. Dame Maggie said the thing she took from the role was "the delight of acting".

The full interview is being screened in the US on Sunday on CBS News.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Downton's new footman Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Mary, Lady Sybil and Anna

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Earl Of Grantham, Robert

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mrs Hughes

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Dinner downstairs

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mrs Hughes and O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mr Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mr Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Tom Branson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna Bates and Thomas Barrow

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Carson and O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Daisy

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Thomas and Daisy

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert and Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert and Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Edith

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anthony Strallan

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Edith and Anthony Strallan

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Edith

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna and Bates

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Bates

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1