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Diary: No dame comment from Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. Photo: ITV Plc/Carnival Films Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. Photo: ITV Plc/Carnival Films
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There is nothing like a dame. Or so they say. And last week two of them were in attendance at the Acting for Others awards, which honour those who have gone above and beyond to raise money or offer other support to this worthy charity.

Tabard says two dames were in attendance, but that’s not entirely true, as one of them – Judi Dench – was there in cardboard form. That’s right, a cardboard cut-out was sent to represent dame Judi as the great actor was otherwise engaged.

But the other dame – Maggie Smith – was able to attend, and was, unsurprisingly, the focus of much attention. Once the ceremony had ended, fellow actors wasted no time asking Smith for selfies.

Smith agreed at first, but clearly got a bit tired of it all, and made no attempts to hide her eye rolls as yet another person approached her for a pic.

But the eye rolls paled into insignificance compared with the anger she unleashed on The Stage’s news editor Matt Hemley, who approached her for a comment about the charity’s work at the end of the ceremony.

Hemley had missed her opening remarks, after a story broke earlier in the day that he had to finish. But Smith was having none of it, giving him a right rollicking and telling him how “disgraceful” it was that he hadn’t made it for the entire awards, and that she wouldn’t be commenting.

She even called Derek Jacobi over to tell him about Hemley’s audacity in asking for a quote having not arrived on time. Like Tabard said, there really is nothing like a dame. Nothing in the world.

Send stories to tabard@thestage.co.uk

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