If you haven’t seen last Sunday’s episode yet, look away now. This post contains a spoiler and if you are planning to watch it over the weekend ahead of this week’s instalment, then as much as it pains me to say it, sod off now.
Right. So by reading this bit, you confirm you have seen it and know the scene I am talking about?
So here goes.
That scene where Anna is attacked by a valet of one of the guests. Yep. That’s the one. The one now being referred to as “the rape scene”. I am not ranting about the scene but the people who appear to be up in arms about it.
Why on earth are they up in arms about this being a story line?
“It’s a family and drama and I don’t want this on my TV”
Oh get over yourselves. There is far worse on Eastenders / Hollyoaks or Coronation Street, all of which air before 8pm most nights. This was aired, as it always is after 9pm. The watershed by which most TV channels judge when to show their “edgier” dramas.
And Downton is just that. A drama series. By it’s very nature there has to be drama in order to make us keep watching. And Mrs Patmore failing to get a cake to rise is not going to keep us gripped, is it?
I am wondering how many people who have since complained about the story line that sees a lady’s maid get attacked actually watched it. Lest we forget that only 2 people complained about Brand and Ross’s phone call to Andrew Sach’s grand daughter immediately after the call. By the time the episode made the headlines over 2000 had. I still maintain that the majority that complained never heard it.
This scene was done as sensitively as such scenes can be. In fact I thought it was very well done. It is referred to as a rape scene yet we don’t see Anna being raped. And in fact there is no mention of that word. What we hear are screams, we don’t see her being assaulted. We see the aftermath of her looking a mess. We see her refusing to tell her boss what happened, just that she is clearly upset and needs help.
The reality is that I am sure this happened during the 1900s. Of course it did. Servants had no rights, and to complain would have meant almost certain dismissal. No job, no reference, no roof over their head. Staff were almost sitting ducks for abusers who were certain to get away with it in the majority of cases. Who would report it? Who would believe the lowly servant if they reported it? And by reporting it they lose everything.
Men abused other men. Child abuse was just as rife then as it is now, but thankfully by society talking about it more, cases are now reported. Men abused women. It happened. And I see no reason why TV dramas shouldn’t touch on the subject.
Why are people complaining to OfCom about it? There was a warning at the beginning of the programme that the show contained scenes some viewers might find upsetting. Yet they continued to watch and then complained? Behave.
I watched it online and had to click various boxes on the itvplayer site to confirm I understood there were upsetting scenes. So we can’t say that ITV haven’t warned us. And we can’t criticise the writers for making it gratuitous, it certainly wasn’t.
What next? Nobody should die in Midsomer Murders because it is effecting house prices in Oxfordshire?
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