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Television PopWrapped | Television

Joanne Froggatt Defends Controversial Downton Abbey Plot

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/21/2013 9:00 pm
PopWrapped | Television
Joanne Froggatt Defends Controversial Downton Abbey Plot

Clare Sidoti

Managing Editor

(SPOILER ALERT!) THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS FOR SEASON 4 OF DOWNTON ABBEY. It was the storyline that shocked everyone who viewed it. People were outraged that this occurred to the beloved Anna Bates and it led many to question whether this was suitable material for ITV’s hit period drama, Downton Abbey to cover. Some even questioned whether it was ploy to boost ratings based around a shocking storyline. Now the actress at the centre of the controversial plot, Joanne Froggatt, has spoken out about the rape storyline. “We all expected there to be a certain controversy when we tackled the subject matter, but I didn’t expect it to be quite as controversial as it has been,” Froggatt told PA. "I felt all along that we'd handled it very sensitively and I hope people see that as the episodes carry on. I am very proud of the way that Downton as a show has handled that, and I'm very proud of the fact they decided to tackle such an important issue." And it is a very “important thing to tackle” especially for a downstairs staff member and seeing these situations and incidents from their point of view in the context of the time and society’s stigma. While the storyline has received complaints, there has also been a lot of positive feedback received so far. Froggatt continued, “I hope people see it for what it is in the fact that Julian [Fellowes, series creator] really wanted to explore the emotional journey of those characters after the event.” Anna’s decision to keep the rape from her husband, Mr Bates, has frustrated many viewers, especially considering everything couple have already weathered in their relationship and how much they both rely on the other to get through things. However, given his reaction when he forced Mrs Hughes to tell him what was wrong with Anna this week, she is right to be concerned about what he might do. Froggatt shares these frustrations, saying, “This is something I wanted to know myself, because as a modern woman you want the character to tell somebody. Please tell somebody, and let the character get his comeuppance.” Unfortunately for those times it wasn’t as simple as that. Froggatt explained, "our historic adviser talked me through remembering being a woman in that time period, and all a woman had was her reputation and that was it. If she lost her reputation she lost everything - her job, her husband, her family. "And in those days unfortunately the public still had the mindset of 'There's no smoke without fire', 'He's a man he can't control himself', all things we in this day and age find repulsive to think of. But for Anna there's so much at stake." Downton Abbey airs on ITV Sundays at 9pm. Season 4 will screen on PBS in the US from January 2014.


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