Published Tuesday, 08 October 2013
Brendan Coyle as Mr. Bates and Joanne Froggart as Anna. (© ITV)
On Sunday, viewers were shocked when Froggart's character Anna Bates was attacked by Lord Gillingham's valet Mr. Green.
But despite ITV and regulator Ofcom receiving a number of complaints about the scenes, Froggart has said it was a "brave" move by the programme makers.
"I was really proud of the show for tackling a subject like this," she said.
"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, he does very much go on to explore the emotional journey of Anna and Bates.
"He's done a beautiful job of hitting the right note with it. I think we all just felt a big responsibility to get it right."
The actress added that the creators of the show did not want to show graphic violence on screen.
"Julian, and this is a credit to him, was adamant that we wouldn't depict that kind of violence against a woman on the screen and that's something that he didn't want in a show of his, that he's a part of, and that's an incredible thing in this industry in this day and age," she said.
"And the shock value was there without having to depict anything graphic. The story is shocking enough, as it should be for a story of that essence."
She said the programme's historical adviser had pointed out that women still had few rights back then which made them reluctant to report such an attack.
"All you had was your reputation, your career, possibly if you had a job, and your family. There was still such a stigma attached to any sort of attack like this that you were very much in danger of losing all of that.
"If a woman lost her reputation, that would bring shame upon the house - she could lose her job, she could lose her husband and society still saw it as no smoke without fire - 'he's only a man, he couldn't help himself'. It's very interesting to see that was only a hundred years ago," Froggatt added.
The episode was seen by an average audience of 9.2 million viewers.
© UTV News