Downton Abbey fans upset by rape

'Downton Abbey' fans are threatening to boycott the show over the rape of Anna Bates by Lord Gillingham's valet, Mr. Green, on Sunday night's (06.10.13) episode

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Nigel Harman

Nigel Harman, who guest starred as Mr. Green

'Downton Abbey' fans are threatening to boycott the show over the rape of Anna Bates.

The maid, played by Joanne Froggatt, was attacked by guest valet Mr. Green (Nigel Harman) on Sunday's (06.10.13) show, a plot twist which shocked many viewers and has led to 80 complaints to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Viewers saw Green, Lord Gillingham's valet, attack Anna when she spurned his advances as she looked for headache pills. He was seen punching her in the face then dragging her off, later leaving her in tears.

The show pulled in 8.8 million viewers - down 400,000 on the previous week - and many registered their distress at the horrific scene on the internet.

Viewer Francesca Williams wrote: "Why is there a rape scene on my television? This is horrible. Definitely not watching 'Downton Abbey' again. (sic)"

Others turned on the show's writer, Julian Fellowes, accusing him of cheap tactics to gain viewers.

Bidisha said: "What is it with male writers scribbling in a quick rape of a woman to spice things up? ITV/'Downton' raped a woman and can never take it back."

Nigel yesterday (07.10.13) defended his part, although he acknowledged it was a risky move by the show's creators.

He said: "It was a shocking and bold storyline, and something that when I was sent the script and read it was like amazed and excited by it, if that makes sense, because for a show like 'Downton' it really leaped out as a bold and risky idea."

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