Scarborough-born actress Joanne Froggatt has spoken of her incredible rise to stardom.
From packing shelves in Scarborough’s WH Smith to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars, the Downton Abbey star is now planning a move to Los Angeles.
Joanne secured a surprise gong at this year’s Golden Globe Awards for her role as the kind-hearted servant Anna Bates in the Sunday night ITV drama. Her moving portrayal of her character’s rape secured her the prestigious gong and she picked up another just weeks later with the rest of the Downton team when they won a Screen Actors Guild for Best Performance in a Drama.
The 34-year-old has revealed she now wants to get her teeth into an evil character.
She said: “I’d like to work on a big-budget US film, ideally playing the total opposite of Anna Bates, someone really evil.
“It would be nice to do lots of different roles and swap between TV, film and theatre like Judi Dench and Helen Mirren do. That’s the perfect mix.”
Joanne and her husband James Cannon are set to spend six months living in Los Angeles after she finishes filming the next series of Downton. Her assault on Hollywood may come even though she senses she may not fit in. “I’m not a big-budget Hollywood type. They want the model type, classically beautiful, and I’m not,“ she said.
Asked whether this was due to sexism, she said that there are more interesting character roles for men.
Joanne was born in Scarborough, where her dad ran a confectionery business. He sold it when she was four so the family could move to a smallholding in Littlebeck, near Whitby, where they raised animals and grew their own veg. Her parents sold the land a few years ago but still live in the same house.
She showed steely determination from early on. Encouraged by the head of Eskdale School, she joined the Rounders youth drama group at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre.
On her own initiative she applied and won a place at Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead. When her parents couldn’t afford the fees, she wrote to Scarborough Borough Council who told her there were no grants for people her age. She was 12. A year later, after much lobbying, she auditioned for the council and they gave her a grant.
“I’m amazed when I look back at myself at that age, but I got a bee in my bonnet,” she said.
Her ﬁrst TV role came at 15 when she played an underage prostitute in The Bill. Joanne worked in WH Smith, in Scarborough, before landing the role of troubled teenage mum Zoe Tattersall in Coronation Street, which launched her career.
Filming on the sixth series of Downton begins this month.
“We all thought season five would be the final one. But quite soon after we started shooting, they announced there would be another one and we all agreed to stay on. After that who knows?” said Joanne.