Downton Abbey cast hanging out in New York

The cast of Downton Abbey let their stiff upper lip quiver as they showed their humorous side on a visit to New York.

Hugh Bonneville who plays Lord Grantham, shared a photo on Twitter of the cast posing for an informal group shot under a New York subway 'Downtown' sign with the 'w' covered to spell Downton.

Cheeky snap: Hugh Bonneville - Downton Abbey's the Earl of Grantham - posted this picture showing cast members Rob James-Collier (Thomas), Sophie McShera (Daisy), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), and Brendan Coyle (Bates) by a Downtown sign on the New York subway

I rename this subway: Hugh used his hand to block out the 'w' to turn Downtown into Downton

The photo, posted on Hugh Bonneville - the Earl of Grantham’s Twitter page shows cast members Rob James-Collier (Thomas), Hugh Bonneville (the Earl of Grantham, a.k.a. Robert Crawley), Sophie McShera (Daisy), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), and Brendan Coyle (Bates).

As well as posing for pictures, the actors, who are in town to promote Season 3 of the hit show watched their first ever basketball game, as the New York Knicks took on Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden.

With the whole gang: Brendan's colleagues Joanne Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Sophie McShera and Hugh Bonneville posed with New York Knicks player Amare Stoudemire

The Christmas special sees the Granthams ditch Downton and head to the Highlands of Scotland for a summer break - which of course leaves their faithful servants to run amok in their absence.

And they will be joined by a few new characters.

On Monday Coyle, 49, was seen with a blonde companion at the basketball game at Madison Square Garden.

New squeeze: Brendan Coyle, who plays Mr Bates in Downton Abbey was seen enjoying a date at the basketball with a mystery woman

The mystery female was seen stroking Brendan's arm as the pair watched the drama play out on the court.

The British star was seen leaning in to speak to his lady and appeared to be giving her a commentary on the game.

Some of Brendan's Downton colleagues had attended the game too but he decided to sit with his female friend instead.

Sharing a joke: The pair looked comfortable in their own company

A spokesperson for the actor declined to comment on the pictures.

Brendan, who plays Mr Bates in the popular period drama, revealed he was looking for love in an interview in October.

He said: 'I'm going to be 50 soon. I'm single, I'm looking for something meaningful.

'By the time you've been single for quite a long time, you can get quite specific about what you can and can't put up with.

Despite having a series of long term girlfriends he has never married and he told Radio Times magazine: 'I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but only now am I truly ready for a relationship,' he said.'

In good company: The pair were sat close to Sopranos star Steve Shirripa and David Duchovny close by

Meanwhile it has been revealed the cast of Downton Abbey pretended actress Jessica Brown-Findlay's leaving party was for her birthday - to stop the death of her character being leaked before it was shown.
Downton star Hugh Bonneville trevealed the lengths they went to because they were desperate for the shock storyline of Lady Sybil's death to remain a secret.

Hugh, who plays the Earl of Grantham in the popular ITV1 drama, said it was difficult to keep Downton secrets from his family and friends.

Marital bliss: On screen Brendan plays Mr Bates who is happily married to Anna (played by Joanne Frogatt)

He told heat magazine: 'I think we did a really good job of keeping the death of Lady Sybil a secret, because it seemed to have such a big impact.

'You very rarely get any proper surprises in TV drama any more, so it was a joy to pull that off. The leakage of plot spoilers is so rife.

'In fact, when we had a leaving do for Jessica (Findlay-Brown) we had to put up Happy Birthday signs and pretend it was her birthday, instead.'

Hugh and the rest of the cast will be seen in a Downton Abbey special on ITV1 on Christmas Day.

Daily Mail