Oh what a night. Early December in 2015. What a very special time for me and 1500 other cheering fans of Downton Abbey who attended the WETA sneak peek of the series’ final season’s first episode and cast Q&A panel.

WETA Downton Abbey Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Moderator Derek Thompson (The Atlantic), Gareth Neame (Executive Producer), Phyllis Logan( “Mrs. Hughes”), Hugh Bonneville (“Earl of Grantham”), Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”), Kevin Doyle (“Mr. Molesley”), Anna Mary Scott Robbins (costume designer) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place

It was a star-studded evening at Lisner Auditorium, on the campus of The George Washington University (my alma mater) in Washington, DC, on the 10th of December 2015.

WETA UK Logo 250pxWETA hosted the last-ever Downton Abbey cast Q&A panel featuring Hugh Bonneville (“Earl of Grantham”), Kevin Doyle (“Mr Molesley”), Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”), Phyllis Logan (Mrs Hughes), Executive Producer Gareth Neame, and Costume Designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins, moderated by Derek Thompson of The Atlantic.

The evening kicked off with introductory remarks from Sharon Percy Rockefeller, WETA President and CEO, Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, and Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton, each of whom delivered a few zingers on par with the Dowager Countess.

More hilarity and series-related anecdotes followed when the members of Downton‘s cast and crew came on stage for the Q&A panel, after the screening of the Downton Abbey: Season 6, Episode 1 sneak peek. Here are a few pics.

WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Gareth Neame (Executive Producer), Phyllis Logan( “Mrs. Hughes”), Hugh Bonneville (“Earl of Grantham”) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”), Kevin Doyle (“Mr. Molesley”), Anna Mary Scott Robbins (costume designer) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Gareth Neame (Executive Producer), Phyllis Logan( “Mrs. Hughes”) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Phyllis Logan( “Mrs. Hughes”), Hugh Bonneville (“Earl of Grantham”) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Hugh Bonneville (“Earl of Grantham”), Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”), Kevin Doyle (“Mr. Molesley”) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Kevin Doyle (“Mr. Molesley”), Anna Mary Scott Robbins (costume designer) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place
WETA Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Cast Q&A
Downton Abbey: Series 6 Preview & Q&A hosted by WETA : (L-R) Gareth Neame (Executive Producer), Phyllis Logan( “Mrs. Hughes”), Hugh Bonneville (“Earl of Grantham”), Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”), Kevin Doyle (“Mr. Molesley”), Anna Mary Scott Robbins (costume designer) – Photo © Linda Jew, The British TV Place

Downton Abbey: Season 6 premieres in the US on Sunday, 3 January 2016, at 9 PM ET, on PBS Masterpiece. (Check your local listings.)

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