There are certain shows that would have as many stories in the press about backlash from the show itself, and one of these very programs goes by the name of “Downton Abbey.” Even though we are now a few days removed from one of the most shocking moments to ever happen on the series, the press is still reporting about (spoiler alert!) the decision to have Mr. Green, one of the valets arriving at Downton during this past episode, shockingly rape Joanne Froggatt’s character of Anna. While not everything was shown on-camera, and there was a warning that aired beforehand, hundreds of complaints have been filed over it, with many saying that they appreciate the show for its breezier moments and did not see it coming.
When it comes to the backlash, we see both sides. Viewers have the right to be offended, and the warning went by quickly and was not altogether specific, but at the same time, should we try to censor art and force it to tell certain stories within our comfort zone? The event was meant to be horrible, and to set Anna on a specific course.
Speaking to the ITV series “This Morning,” we now have some of the first comments from the man responsible for playing the part of Mr. Green. Nigel Harman (who auditioned originally for the Lord Anthony Gillingham role) said that it was something that was rehearsed, and he saw the scene as an opportunity for the show to stretch itself beyond its limits:
“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… and I’d worked with Joanne Froggat and Brendan Coyle before and we had a rehearsal and went for it.”
This was an opportunity for Harman to have an iconic role, but at the same time we liken his situation as an actor now to what someone in Grant Gustin went through on “Glee” playing an evil character in Sebastian. He is just now getting to a point where the public is forgiving him more or less for doing his job.
This is not the only explanation of this controversial scene that has hit the internet. Joanne Froggatt and Julian Fellowes have each also described and defended what was shown, citing it as important and not exploitative in the least.