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'Downton Abbey' season 5 spoilers: Dowager Countess returning

The fifth season of the popular British television drama "Downton Abbey" has already begun filming and at least one major character will be appearing in the new season. Wetpaint Entertainment recently reported that actress Maggie Smith will be returning for the role of Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Dowager Countess
ITV

Smith, 79, has had a long and success career in film and television so retirement is always a possibility. Show creator Julian Fellows praised the actress, and revealed she will be back and will be on the show "as long as she wants to do it." Smith has had a major role in the series since season one, and has provided her wisdom to Mary, Sybil and Edith in times of need.

The Dowager encountered some health issues during season four, which she eventually came out of. It's unclear if her health will continue to hold up or what other obstacles the series will place on her character, but Violet Crawley has withstood plenty of drama so far.

"Downton Abbey' season five is currently filming at Ealing Studios and Highclere Castle. The episodes will premiere next fall in the United Kingdom and early 2015 in the United States on PBS. Smith has won numerous awards for the role, including two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

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