18 February 2013 3:05 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Maggie Smith says she doesn't watch herself on TV. It takes a brave actor these days to sit through a warts-and-all HD airing

Dame Maggie Smith's recent admission that she never watches herself on the telly may come as a shock to people out in the real world, but it merely confirms what actors have known to be best practice for many years. Watching yourself perform on television is the most exquisite torture any actor can suffer, and the business is tough enough already without adding yet more despair and humiliation to our lot.

The trouble, as Smith will testify, is that the reality of our skill and craft rarely matches our fantasy. We all like to think of ourselves as having the technique of Laurence Olivier, the methodology of Marlon Brando and the timing of, well, Maggie Smith. But of course once you see yourself back, you realise it's not like that. »

- Michael Simkins

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