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Tue, 3 Jul, 2018Danielle McCarthy

Johanna Griggs recalls her foul-mouthed encounter with Dame Maggie Smith

Johanna Griggs recalls her foul-mouthed encounter with Dame Maggie Smith

Better Homes and Gardens host Johnna Griggs has opened up about her frightening encounter with Dame Maggie Smith.

In a new interview, Griggs told news.com.au that she met the Oscar-winning star when they were filming an episode of Better Homes And Gardens in 2011.

Downton Abbey had launched overseas but they hadn’t launched in Australia, so they asked us to go over and do a behind-the-scenes look at the cast and the crew,” Griggs said.

The Better Homes and Gardens team went to the set of the show in England, to shoot the location of the period drama.

“Obviously we’d seen a lot of pre-episodes of Downton Abbey, we’d heard all the hype about it coming out and I was personally so excited about meeting Dame Maggie Smith,” Griggs said.

“We kept saying to them, ‘We’re going to be really, really easy. You won’t even know we’re here, we’re going to be behind the scenes. We’ll grab you each for two minutes if you’ve got a spare two minutes between scenes.’ In my head I was like, ‘I can’t wait to meet Dame Maggie, I can’t wait!’"

However, Griggs’s expectations were quickly ruined when Smith, who plays Dowager Countess of Grantham, became frustrated with the Aussie film crew on set.

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“They were doing a rehearsal for a scene and we had permission to film so we were shooting a wide shot of the room and then Dame Maggie just quietly stops and says, ‘Why is there a f***ing camera in my face?’”

“The PR company said, ‘Oh, Dame Maggie, this is a crew from Australia called Better Homes and Gardens. It’s the number one lifestyle show and we’re about to launch in Australia and we’ve had lots of discussions about this. They’re here to promote the show.’

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“She goes, ‘Well, I don’t care who they f***ing are, so get the f***ing camera out of my face.’

“We just very quietly backed out of the room and closed the door. It was one of those things where you’re like, ‘That’s not how I thought that would go in my head.’”

Griggs said the other Downton Abbey cast and crew were lovely to her and her team.

“They said to us, ‘That’s just Dame Maggie — she loves to do this and put people off. It’s her thing,’” Griggs said.

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