'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Premiere: 4 Burning Questions We Want Answered In


But it is so odd that such a major story line gets resolved basically off camera.

Heck, when British prime minister David Cameron visited China in 2014, he gave Chinese premier Le Kequiang an autographed "Downton Abbey" script.

And Mary and Edith are still not-so-friendly antagonists throughout. Will Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes find marital bliss? Now, as she tells Mrs. Patmore, Mrs. Hughes is anxious about fulfilling her wifely duties. It's a show that lots of generations can watch together. Does Branson make a new life in Boston?

Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of "PBS Masterpiece", kicked things off by recapping the status of some main characters - including the perennially overshadowed Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), the perpetually beleaguered Mr. and Mrs. Bates (Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt), and Maggie Smith's indomitable Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess - as the season opens.

Among those characters are Lady Mary and Lady Edith, Crawley sisters whose emotional fortunes take wildly different paths.

The series' impact on the public broadcaster has been massive - Downton Abbey is, by a good measure, the most popular and highest-rated series in the network's history, averaging 12.5 million US viewers during its fifth season (The Good Wife, by comparison, has averaged slightly more than 8.5 million viewers during its current campaign). This isn't her first rodeo, after all. "It was sort of a stage direction - 'Carson sits there in his magnificence, ' and I thought, 'You want a man who can sit in magnificence?' I'm your boy", he said, prompting great laughter. Mary says this isn't the first time she's been blackmailed, so is there the potential for something like this to pop up again? "Third time lucky", he added. "That's the problem, I just don't know". I walked in all prepared, having worked for weeks on a Yorkshire accent.

Hugh Bonneville on how he realized Downton was not only a hit show but also a cultural phenomenon. "And B, Wow! We never expected that demographic".

Asked if the series could ever return, Neame said that, because of TV's fondness for remakes, he couldn't rule that out. "Nobody in the theater-there was about 3000 people apparently-and nobody had a clue what the show was". And I think Robert, yes, dinosaur that he has been at times, ultimately, whether he's dragged kicking and screaming by Mary, or by his mother, or by Cora, does adapt or does see that change is necessary. Dockery handled the clapperboard for the final scene. That's as much got to do with the chemistry between Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan. "And it was Julian who said to us that he felt that it would be a bit truncated trying to bring it into land over in that fifth series".

Alan Leech cracked, "But in 1925 that's foreplay". "But she really enjoyed the show". "As much as I missed Dan when he went, I then went on to have such a fabulous storyline!"

On a lighter note, there was Violet's playful prodding at Denker (Sue Johnston) upon discovering that she revealed that there could be staff layoffs even after she was told to keep quiet. The actress explained they have microphones that are placed on their legs under their skirts by assistants. "And he just went bright red". "I remember being incredibly grateful to him for being so lovely". "I am constantly frustrated by her wit". I think in the stage direction it said, "She shields her eyes from the light and says, 'Oh, it's like being on stage at the Gaiety Theater.'" But she didn't just shield it with her hand, she pulled out a fan and then held it there for the entire scene, which was just hilarious.

KEVIN DOYLE, Actor: Hello.

The ladies of "Downton Abbey" get down and dirty.

Mr. Neame said he's also glad to have the series end with the cast as intact as it is.

DEGGANS: "Downton Abbey" is, at its heart, a meticulously crafted soap opera. Thank Scottish poet Robert Burns who penned the ballad from a collected group of 1780s verses, remaking them into a song that those of us of a certain generation, less the young people these days, knows to be the bittersweet theme to the past.