No ac­tion de­spite furore over Down­ton Abbey rape scenes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

THE Bri­tish TV watch­dog has de­clined to take ac­tion against Down­ton Abbey producers af­ter re­ceiv­ing a flurry of com­plaints fol­low­ing the broad­cast of a con­tro­ver­sial rape sto­ry­line last month. Fans of the hit pe­riod-drama were left stunned when maid Anna May Bates, played by ac­tress Joanne Frog­gatt (pic­tured), was sex­u­ally as­saulted by valet Mr Green, por­trayed by Nigel Harman. Al­though the at­tack was not di­rectly shown on­screen, it prompted more than 200 view­ers to make their feel­ings known to TV watch­dog Of­com. But reg­u­la­tory bosses at Of­com have de­cided against tak­ing the com­plaints fur­ther af­ter care­ful as­sess­ment be­cause producers ‘‘did not raise is­sues war­rant­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion’’. Of­fi­cials noted that the episode did fea­ture an early warn­ing to view­ers about the con­tent of the show. The news will be warmly wel­comed by cre­ator Ju­lian Fel­lowes, who was forced to de­fend his de­ci­sion to in­clude the shock­ing scenes, in­sist­ing the sen­si­tive sub­ject mat­ter al­lowed view­ers to dis­cover the char­ac­ters’ depths. ‘‘The whole point of the way we do things on Down­ton is we don’t do them gra­tu­itously. We are in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing the re­sul­tant emo­tions . . . The point of our han­dling is not that we’re in­ter­ested in sen­sa­tion­al­is­ing, but we’re in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing the men­tal dam­age and the emo­tional dam­age. Down­ton deals in sub­ject­ing a cou­ple of char­ac­ters per se­ries to a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and you get the emo­tions that come out of th­ese trau­mas,’’ Fel­lowes said.

Down­ton Abbey: Com­ing soon, Seven, Prime7.

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