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Page 3 Profile: Joanne Froggatt, actor

That outfit’s a bit racy for a head housemaid!

Don’t be silly – she only wears that when she’s on screen on Downton Abbey. She’s been defending a storyline on the period drama.

Did they use the wrong cutlery?

It was much worse! ITV and Ofcom received almost 100 complaints after her character, Anna May Bates, was raped when she refused to kiss Mr Green, played by ex-EastEnders actor Nigel Harman.

How did she respond?

She called the decision by the show’s writers to stage the scene as “brave”, and said she was proud of them for depicting violence that “we are still dealing with in this day and age”.

It must have been hard to act.

No violence was shown, but viewers could hear screaming and beating.

I hope Mr Green was caught!

Not yet – her character doesn’t tell the authorities because of the pressures on women to preserve “their reputation” at the time. She used the internet to research the thoughts of current victims of rape who felt unable to go to the police.

Is she used to playing such harrowing roles?

She cut her teeth in dramas that are much grittier than Downton Abbey. After attending the Redroofs Theatre School in Berkshire, she made her TV debut at 16 in The Bill. Froggatt has also played the sister of notorious serial-killer Myra Hindley.

Has the plot damaged the  show’s popularity?

We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see how many of the 9.2 million viewers last week are put off.

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