By Ellen Hoffman
Jul 19, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

Talk about British fever! PBS’s Downton Abbey, the cultural phenomenon from across the pond, picked up an impressive 16 nominations for this year's Emmy Awards, including a coveted nod for Best Drama Series, and Best Actor/Actress recognition for its two leading stars, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) and Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary). This is the first year the British period drama is eligible as a drama contender—the series shifted from the Best Miniseries/Movie category, which it won last year. Who are these Brits and why does everyone care so much? Click through the gallery to meet the cast of Downton Abbey!

MORE 2012 EMMYS:• See the 2012 Emmy Nominees!• Mad Men Has 17 Nominations• Lena Dunham Has 4 Emmy Nods• Zooey Deschanel's First Emmy Nod!