Johanna Griggs has opened up about her frightening encounter with two-time Oscar winner, Dame Maggie Smith.

Speaking to, Griggs recalled that she met the legendary British actor back in 2011 when they were filming an episode of Better Homes And Gardens.

"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 spent the day filming at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, where the period drama was shot.


"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!'"

Johanna Griggs had a less than friendly encounter with Dame Maggie Smith. Photo / Seven
Johanna Griggs had a less than friendly encounter with Dame Maggie Smith. Photo / Seven

But Smith, who won three Emmys for her role as Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, was less than impressed when she spotted Channel 7's cameras on set.

"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.'

"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 rest of the Downton Abbey cast and crew couldn't have been more lovely and they told her not to worry about her encounter with Smith.

Dame Maggie Smith in Downtown Abbey. Photo / Supplied
Dame Maggie Smith in Downtown Abbey. Photo / Supplied

"They said to us, 'That's just Dame Maggie — she loves to do this and put people off. It's her thing,'" Griggs recalled.

Better Homes And Gardens last week celebrated its 1000th episode and Graham Ross is the only current cast member who has been there since the beginning. The horticulturalist also spoke to about his memorable celebrity moment on the show.

"We were filming at Hampton Court Palace and my producer had set me up," he said.

"I got a tap on the shoulder and I turned around and Camilla [Duchess of Cornwall] was standing there."

Ross said that he was caught off guard and quickly realised that Parker Bowles wasn't what he expected her to be.

"You're thinking, the press say you're really ugly. No, you're not. They say you're bats**t boring. No, you're actually really nice. Within two minutes she was so friendly and we spoke for half an hour.

"The paparazzi were going crazy and she said, 'Just ignore them. Turn your back.' So she just kept her back to them. She was lovely, really lovely."