Feb. 9, 2012 at 11:46 AM ET
"Downton Abbey" fans are used to seeing the cast in stiff servant uniforms or prim manor-house attire. But this photo, taken at Britain's National Television Awards in London on Jan. 25, is as shocking to some fans as Lady Mary's Turkish tryst.
Yes, that's Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) in the animal print, and you might recognize the lone male in the photo as Rob James-Collier, handsome and conniving Thomas on the show.
You may even figure out that the woman directly next to Thomas, in the black dress, is Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley, the middle daughter of the house, who looks a million times better with her hair not forced up into an early version of Princess Leia buns.
But it's the lady in red who's the showstopper. Yes, that's Siobhan Finneran, who plays the Countess' maid, O'Brien. Gone are the severe pincurls, the drawn and pinched face, the long-sleeved, high-necked black dress. Do they give an Emmy for Best Costume, Hair and Makeup That Completely Transforms? Because whoever's in charge of shrouding her in that costume and making her look so perfectly dour for her part should get one.
Another cast shocker: Look at Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) in the photo above, next to Finneran in her O'Brien costume. Got it? Now, look at her here, in 2006.
Want to see some of the rest of the cast in their modern looks? Paper Magazine has a great photo roundup. Bates is cute as pie, Ethel is a babe. And don't miss Carson on a bike! Isis the dog? Pretty much the same on- and off-screen.
And here's one more photo of the cast. From left to right, that's Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes, with different hair color than the 2006 photo above), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Lesly Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Sophie McShera (Daisy) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) at a London charity event in 2011.
Are you a "Downton Abbey" fan? Did you have any idea O'Brien (or Mrs. Hughes, or the others) was so different looking out of costume? Tell us on Facebook.