Arriving at the screening are Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey; Masterpiece Theatre executive producer Rebecca Eaton;Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore, the cook; Joanne Froggatt, who plays maid Anna; Rob James-Collier, who plays footman Thomas Barrow; and executive producer Gareth Neame.
"Do you know they have me still wearing a corset under my uniform on Downton?" said Nicol. "It's now the '20s and the other ladies get to give up their corsets -- but they say Mrs. Patmore would still be wearing hers!"
As Anna Bates (nee Smith), Froggatt was nominated for a best supporting actress in a drama series at this year's Emmys. During the evening's panel discussion, she said she quite liked Anna's little maid costumes. Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham on the series, responded quickly, "I quite like them too."
The vice president of programming for PBS was all smiles on Friday night in celebrating his network's hit English import.
One of the most successful television producers on either side of the Atlantic, the Emmy-winner helped create Downton Abbey and serves as the show's executive producer. Neame has also had a hand in shows such as State of Play, MI5 and the BAFTA-winning adaptation of the book Any Human Heart. When moderator Tim Goodman suggested fans might like to see the characters of Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes expand their unspoken love, Naeme said, "Letting viewers see their affection without bringing them together is what makes it special -- it is already like a marriage."
Hugh Bonneville and THR's Owen Phillips
Hugh Bonneville poses for a photo with THR's Owen Phillips. The BAFTA and Emmy-nominated actor, who plays the Grantham family’s father/clan leader, joked of the Edwardian Era drama: “It’s Breaking Bad with tea instead of meth."
Americans owe a debt to Rebecca Eaton, who, as executive producer of PBS' Masterpiece, brought Downton Abbey across the Atlantic, but she acknowledged during the panel discussion that she had initially passed on Downton because Masterpiece was already working on the Upstairs/Downstairs reboot. At this, the cast reacted in mock horror and anger. Lesley Nicol even stood up and rolled up her sleeves as if spoiling for a fight.
A model and former soap opera star who says he recently signed with UTA, Robert James-Collier plays Thomas Barrow on Downton. "I know Damian Lewis just won an Emmy for Homeland, so I'm working hard on my own American accent. I think I'll nail it very soon," James-Collier said. "There's definitely a wave of Brits doing great work on American television, and I wouldn't mind being one of them!"
Robert James-Collier and Gareth Neame
Together in L.A., Neame poses for a photo with James-Collier, who has won multiple awards for sexiest male star at the British Soap Awards.
Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter's chief television critic, moderated Friday night's panel. Of the show's popularity in the U.S., Goodman wrote in his review: "What hooked everyone was a fantastic web of stories about love and class wrapped in superb, nuanced dialogue, exquisite detail in both location and costume, and wonderful acting throughout. It was like Americans suddenly concerned themselves with manners and being proper above all else."