Downton Abbey won't face Ofcom investigation over rape scene

More than 400 complaints were sent in about the controversial storyline

Downton Abbey's controversial rape scene will not be investigated by Ofcom despite more than 400 viewer complaints.

The TV watchdog received 244 complaints over "generally accepted standards", while a further 200 were sent to ITV.

The show, which routinely scores more than nine million viewers in its 9pm Sunday slot, is broadcast after the watershed, but is generally thought of as gentle viewing.

That all changed last month when Anna (played by Joanne Froggatt) was attacked by Mr Green (Nigel Harman). However, it took place off-screen, with no graphic scenes of the attack.

The owner of Highclere Castle, where the period drama is filmed, said the violent storyline wasn't to her tastes.

The Countess of Carnarvon said: "I didn't watch it [on Sunday] but I gather it was less pleasant - I can't think of any other way to describe it other than it was quite cutting edge and quite painful."

The show's creator, Julian Fellowes, defended the scene, saying: "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.

"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."

Froggatt said she was pleased the show was tacking a "really important" issue, while ITV said the scenes in question had been "acted and directed with great sensitivity".