Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes defends rape scene: 'We're interested in exploring the emotional damage'
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has defended a rape storyline in the latest episode of the period drama, which has drawn almost 100 complaints.
The writer said: “The whole point of the way we do things on Downton is we don’t do them gratuitously. We are interested in exploring the resultant emotions and the effect these things have on people.”
The storyline, which saw character Anna Bates attacked and raped by a visiting valet, has received 90 complaints.
ITV has received 60 complaints about the scene, while broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has received 30.
But Fellowes said the attack purposefully took place behind closed doors. “If we’d wanted a sensational rape we could have stayed down in the kitchen with the camera during the whole thing and wrung it out,” he told the BBC.
“The point of our handling is not that we're interested in sensationalising but we're interested in exploring the mental damage and the emotional damage,” he said.
Actress Joann Froggatt, who plays Anna Bates, has also defended the scene, in which she appears scarred and bruised when found by head housemaid Elsie Hughes.
She told BBC Breaksfast: “I was really proud of the show for tackling a subject like this. It's a really brave thing to do and I really do believe that Julian's written that in a way that is not gratuitous at all, he does very much go on to explore the emotional journey of Anna and Bates.
“And the shock value was there without having to depict anything graphic. The story is shocking enough, as it should be for a story of that essence.”
Fellowes said the storyline was intended to “take characters to the brink”.
He said: “We know Anna is a strong personality but it doesn’t mean she will be able to be strong through this.
“The whole rest of the series, for her story and for Bates’ story, is seeing how she negotiates her way through this. I don’t think we ever have a sense that she leaves it behind.”
An average of 9.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the drama on ITV on Sunday, which carried a warning beforehand alerting viewers to the upsetting scene. Joanna Froggatt plays Anna Bates, who was raped by a visiting valet
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Does the path to true love really lie in these 36 questions?
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
- 5 Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Costa Book Awards: H is for Hawk named book of the year
Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels: 'Kendrick Lamar is killing it - but radios are too afraid to play him'
Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes