The actress doesn't think her character Anna Bates' attack was 'gratuitous'

Joanne Froggatt has defended Downton Abbey‘s shock scene on Sunday night which saw her character Anna Bates being raped by valet Green.

Viewers have labelled housemaid Anna‘s ordeal ‘disturbing’ on Twitter and 80 complaints have been made to Ofcom but Joanne, 33, thinks creator Julian Fellowes pulled off a ‘brave move’.

‘I really believe that Julian has written it in a way which isn’t gratuitous,’ says Joanne.

Julian has done a beautiful job hitting the right note.’

Writer Julian, 64, has also stuck up for his work – saying that he’s ‘interested in exploring resultant emotions’ – although he’s apologised to fans who didn’t think the show should ‘go there’.

Joanne did extensive research on how rape affected women in the 1920s before filming the harrowing sequence with ex-EastEnders star Nigel Harman.

‘As a woman in that age all you had was your reputation, your job and your family. There was still such a stigma attached to any kind of attack like that,’ Joanne tells BBC Breakfast.

‘You were very much in danger of losing all of that, and if a woman lost her reputation it would bring shame on the house, she could lose her job, she could lose her husband.’ 

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