Downton Abbey has shocked and offended many of its viewers after its latest aired episode depicted a rape scene, involving the young character Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt). The controversial television scenes have provoked many viewers to make a complaint, reports BBC News.

Michelle Dockery
Downton Abbey Hit With Complaints From Outraged Viewers.

Ofcom have not specified the exact number of complaints they received but have admitted that "a number of complaints" were made after British viewers were upset by the scenes. ITV apparently received 70 complaints pertaining to the on-screen incident. Additionally, viewers also took to Twitter to voice their disgust at the brutal attack with one Lucy Raine tweeting "I am genuinely so distressed at what just happened on Downton Abbey I feel sick."

The guest valet Mr. Green (Nigel Harman) is shown to hit Anna when she resists his advances and then drags her off into another room to attack her whilst the rest of the servants, guests, and her family were watching an opera performance upstairs. A bruised and bloodied Anna is later shown in tears as she tries to come to terms with what has happened to her.

Downton Abbey
The Show Has Suffered A Decline In Viewing Figures.

Even The Telegraph's critic, who called for more sex after last week's episode, felt that the shocking violence was way off the mark, particularly for the older demographic who wouldn't expect such scenes in a period drama. Katy Rink wrote "[the scene] comes at the great risk of alienating the loyal sixty-somethings," adding "Last night we writhed in our sofas, disbelieving and uncomfortable."

The much-complained-about episode coincides with the loss of a million viewers after it has been widely claimed that the show is becoming boring. Many viewers tweeting after last's night show were quick to accuse the Downton writers of adding in a sensationalist subplot to try to attract a larger audience.

Though it could be argued that rape has been a prevalent human issue throughout history and Downton is a historical drama, the harsh scenes were deemed inappropriate by many and certainly for the older audience who enjoy the Sunday night show.

Lily James
Many Fans Of The Show Have Reacted With Horror To The Controversial Storyline.