Hugh Bonneville


Just two days after "Downton Abbey" received 16 Emmy nominations, the most ever for a non-American series, cast members attended a cocktail party during the TV Critics Assocation's opening day.

Emmy nominee Hugh Bonneville stole the show by tearing open his three-piece suit, revealing a white t-shirt emblazoned with the words: "Free Bates," a reference to the fact that the popular character, Mr. Bates, was imprisoned for murder at the end of season two.

Brendon Coyle, who plays Mr. Bates, was also on hand. He admitted that he had taken the Facebook quiz, which tells takers what "Downton Abbey" cast member they resemble. "I'm Lady Mary," he said. "I'm quite happy with that."

Critics got a chance to see a few scenes from the upcoming season, which starts in January, including a verbal showdown between Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLaine. MacLaine said that when she arrived on the set, Dame Smith reminded her that they had met 40 years ago backstage at the Oscars at which MacLaine was nominated, but lost.

"'You know what you did, dear?'" Smith told her, according to MacLaine. "You tucked right into this chocolate cake and said, 'F%$^ it. I don't care if I'm ever thin again.'"

Just how big has "Abbey" become?

Joanne Frogatt, also nominated for an Emmy, is getting married two weeks after the Emmys and got the following note form the vicar who will be presiding over the ceremonies: "If Jo could fix it for me and my wife to got to 'Downton' set, she'll go straight to heaven."

The vicar got his visit.



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