Downton viewers shocked by brutal attack on Joanne

Joanne Froggatt
Joanne Froggatt
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Scarborough actress Joanne Froggatt has found herself in the middle of a Twitter backlash after Sunday night’s explosive episode of Downton Abbey.

Viewers vented their fury as the popular maid Anna Bates, played by Joanna, was beaten and raped by a visiting servant called Green, played by former Eastenders actor Nigel Harman.

Many of Downton’s loyal fans took to the social media site to criticise the show’s writer Julian Fellows for what they felt was inappropriate material for family viewing.

One person, @moss_sophie, summed up the feelings of many of those expressing their opinions, writing: “Really shocked and disappointed with last night’s episode. It has really put me off Downton.

“I felt traumatised by the violence.”

Comedian Sarah Millican was also one of those who found the story line upsetting. She wrote: “Just caught up on Downton. Really disappointed in this direction.”

However, others have defended the show for its ‘bold move’ in portraying the violence against women.

The show, which airs after the 9pm watershed and carried a warning about violent scenes, draws in more than 10m viewers each week and is no stranger to provoking strong reactions, often by killing popular characters.