This past Sunday’s episode of Downton Abbey season 4 included a surprise event that no one saw coming. Moreover, viewers responded in outrage.
In Downton Abbey season 4, episode 3 which aired two days ago on ITV in the United Kingdom, Anna May Bates was raped by a guests’ valet when she resisted his romantic advances on her. Though we don’t see the rape on Downton Abbey occur outright, it is very much implied.
Responding to the criticism over the show going for that sensitive topic, series creator Juian Fellowes told the BBC today, “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,” he said before adding he was “sorry” if viewers felt the show shouldn’t have had the plot.
Fellows also pointed out that they purposely did not show the rape occur, thus proving that they didn’t want to take the topic lightly. “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.”
Actress Joanne Froggatt who plays Anna also spoke about her scene with a British morning show. “We all just felt a big responsibility to get it right,” she said. “I think it’s a really brave thing to do… I believe that Julian has written it in a way that is not gratuitous at all.”
Downton Abbey series 4 continues this Sunday at 9 p.m. local time on ITV, and the show will surely show the ramifications of Anna being violated.