Dame Maggie Smith has said her work on Harry Potter and Downton Abbey “wasn’t what you’d call satisfying”.

The actress, 84, played Minerva McGonagall in the boy wizard films and starred as Violet Crawley in the period drama.

Discussing her work in the earlier years of her career, she told ES magazine: “It seemed to take ages to get away from light comedy.”

She added: “I am deeply grateful for the work in [Harry] Potter and indeed Downton [Abbey] but it wasn’t what you’d call satisfying.

“I didn’t really feel I was acting in those things.”

ES cover
ES magazine cover (ES magazine/PA)

Dame Maggie is known for film and TV roles and also returned to the stage this year in A German Life, in which she is the only star.

She said as soon as she agreed to do the play she suffered “doubt, doubt, doubt”.

“I suddenly felt twice as old as I actually was,” she said.

“And also, when you haven’t done a show for a long time, there’s something pretty dumb about doing it totally on your own.”

The full interview appears in this week’s issue of ES magazine, out Thursday December 5.