‘Downton Abbey’ Takes Washington: Stars Talk, Pols Swoon

Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:53am

The night was cold, but inside the British ambassador’s residence, it was warm and filled to capacity with A-list Washingtonians fanning themselves over the stars of the British drama “Downton Abbey.”

Milling about and jockeying for pictures with the stars of the super-popular PBS Masterpiece Theater show was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

The PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill was spotted joking with Rob James-Collier, who plays the villainous Thomas Barrow on the show.

“We’re already best friends,” she told him, pleased.

Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, who play the Earl and Countess Grantham, were also chatting to besotted fans. There must have been a lot of smiling, because at one point we caught McGovern massaging her cheeks.

Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Smith) and Sophie McShera (Daisy Mason) were also at the event.

From our view of the room, James-Collier seemed to be the belle of the ball, as it were. Women, young and not as young, pushed and prodded their way into his view, demanding pictures.

“In England, everyone is so reserved,” he told a semicircle of fawning lady Washingtonians. “In America, you show the love!”

“You should stop wearing your hair slicked back,” one attendee told James-Collier.

If he responded, we didn’t catch it.

Also, spotted at the event were CBS News’ Bob Schieffer and Tim Miller, deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee.