Joanne Froggatt Talks About Downton Abbey

Category: Television and Streaming

In the popular PBS drama Downton Abbey, Joanne Froggatt plays Anna Bates, Ladies Maid to Lady Mary. In the previous seasons, Anna has had some meaty parts, working for Lady Mary, falling in love with Mr. Bates, and working to get him out of prison when he was unjustly accused, however viewers of the show and fans of Anna Bates will see a very tragic and dramatic storyline in season four for the beloved character.


At the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, Ms. Froggatt discussed her character and the series. “I love Anna,” she proclaimed. “When I read her on the page before I went in for the audition, I thought, ‘Oh, yeah. She’s the kind of person you would want as a best friend, and she’s just so lovely.’  And I think Anna may grow up to be Mrs. Hughes. I think there is a connection. So Anna is like the younger version of Mrs. Hughes, I think,” she said, referring to the loveable yet dignified housekeeper.


Froggatt also spoke about the correlation between the time period in which the series takes place and modern days. “It’s important to remember how women were at that time and the opportunities we didn’t have. When we started the first season of Downton, it was before women had the vote and those kinds of things, which just seem so far removed from where we are today, but it’s only a hundred years ago. It’s things like that that always surprise me with Downton.” The 34-year-old actress exclaimed, “Every year, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, yeah. Goodness me. We still weren’t allowed to do this.’” For modern women, it’s ancient history to think about not being able to go out to eat or do many things that today are just part of our lives. But for the time period in which the series is placed, the characters were just on the cusp of many things becoming reality, and Froggatt was astounded at the things women could not do in those days.


“I think Julian (Fellowes) writes really well for women.  He always has. I mean Maggie Smith is kind of his muse in a way – the way he writes for Maggie and the way she delivers those lines. And he writes really strongly for women and always has.”

When the new season of Downton Abbey plays out, viewers will see the Anna Bates character experience something that will effect her for the rest of her life, and Mr. Bates as well. Downton Abbey, Season Four premiers January 5, 2014 on PBS.


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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