Thursday 22 March 2018

Fellowes fine with Downton feedback

Julian Fellowes created the ITV hit drama Downton Abbey
Julian Fellowes created the ITV hit drama Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes has revealed he is "flattered" by the storm over the Downton Abbey rape storyline.

Joanne Froggatt's character Anna Bates was attacked by Lord Gillingham's valet Mr Green in Sunday's edition of the ITV's period drama, which has prompted complaints to ITV and regulator Ofcom.

"I'm sorry if people are unhappy... I think if 90 people are unhappy, and the other 11 million are OK, I want them to be unhappy. I don't want this to be a minor event in the history of the show," he said at the Luminous BFI fundraising gala in London.

"This is a character we love, who has been seriously attacked, and the response should be unhappiness and I hope, involvement. On a certain level, it's very flattering."

He added: "There is something kind of rewarding in feeling that the characters are so taken into the public's heart that they are personally aggrieved at what happened. I love them for that, so I hope they will keep faith in us."

Julian has defended the storyline and pointed out that the plot was not done for sensational purposes, but to explore the "emotional damage".

"I think that's a situation modern people have to face. People talk very simply on chat shows but it's terribly complicated when you're caught in the middle and you're trying to do what's right, but you're also very shocked and hurt," he continued.

"Anna's in a terrible position. I hope how Anna deals with it will be useful. If we help one person, it will be worth it."

Joanna told BBC Breakfast: "I was really proud of the show for tackling a subject like this. It's a really brave thing to do and I really do believe that Julian's written that in a way that is not gratuitous at all."

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