Playing the beloved Anna Bates, Joanne Froggatt has been one of the breakout stars of UK series Downton Abbey. Not only was she singled out by the Golden Globes in 2015 as Best Supporting Actress in a Series, TV Series or Television Film, she’s also a three-time Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. But as the series comes to an end this season, Froggatt, 35, is also moving on to the next chapter of her life. And it couldn’t be more different.
What’s next for you after Downton Abbey? Next up, I play Mary Anne Cotton, the first female serial killer in Britain. It’s set in the Victorian era and is a two-part mini series called Dark Angel.
It must have been challenging to play someone so different from Anna? Yes. It’s funny. People asked me, ‘What do you want to do after playing the lovely Anna?’ and I’d say, ‘Probably doing the polar opposite, like playing a murderer.’ And here I am. If things scare you, then they’re worth doing.”
Have you changed anything about Joanne since playing Anna Bates? I wear a lot less black since playing Anna (laughs).
You and your husband James (Cannon) have left the Yorkshire Moors for sunny Los Angeles. What brought about that big change? I really want to work here and it makes sense to commit and give it a go. I haven’t got a job lined up in LA yet but my husband and I fancy a bit of an adventure and we thought, ‘Why not live in the sunshine for a little bit?’ I’ve really embraced my new life.
What about starting a family? Yes, we’ll see. We’d like to start a family.
Downton’s John Bates is the perfect husband — does your husband feel any pressure to follow in Bates’ footsteps? I hope he doesn’t follow in Bates’ footsteps (laughs). I’ll tell you, I don’t want all that trouble, thank you very much! But he’s very kind. Even more so than Mr Bates.
What was the last day of filming like for you? Our last day of filming was really emotional for all of us. I went to thank the crew and I just burst into tears. Even the burly crew members were crying in a corner. It felt very surreal.
How do you look back on the experience of Downton Abbey? I feel the show gave us a great sense of achievement which was wonderful.
Are you happy about how each character’s storyline wrapped up? Yes, I’m happy. I think all the characters are left in a really good place, not that everyone is left in a happily ever after situation, by any means, but I think the characters we all love are in a place we all feel okay about.