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Maggie Smith Is Also Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess of Bananagrams

Photo: PBS

The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and Isabel (Penelope Wilton) redefined friendship goals as “become BFFs over the course of a decade with your distant cousin after our respective grandaughter and son, who are also cousins, fall in love, but the son dies in a car crash” on Downton Abbey, so when Vulture ran into Wilton at the Downton film’s premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday evening, we had one question and one question only: What are her and Smith’s favorite ways to chillax when the cameras stop rolling? Does Smith even chillax?

“We play a lot of Banangrams, which is a wonderful game. It’s like Scrabble but much quicker. It keeps your mind very sharp,” Wilton told us. “You can’t go sit and read a book when you’re filming a scene. We chat a lot, but Bananagrams keeps us alive, especially in those scenes around the dinner table, since they take ages to film. It gets very boring. It kept us alive!” And, dare we ask, who’s the better player? “I’m afraid to say, Maggie’s brilliant at Bananagrams,” Wilton added. “Like in the film, she wins all the time.” To think — all that on-set anachronistic game play, and it never accidentally made its way into the show! Well, to our knowledge, anyway.

Maggie Smith Is Also Downton Dowager Countess of Bananagrams