Nigel Harman - Downton AbbeyNigel Harman has spoken about a violent rape scene in Downton Abbey.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning about his new Downton Abbey role where his character performed a violent rape scene, actor Nigel Harman said,

It was a shocking and bold storyline, and something that when I was sent the script and read it was like amazed and excited by it if that makes sense because for a show like Downton it really leaped out as a bold and risky idea…. and I’d worked with Joanne Froggat and Brendan Cole before.  …we had a rehearsal and went for it. And what we wanted to do was to try and not signal about what was to come.

We went for something – as it would be in real lifer – very shocking. It was exciting to play, especially in the context of Downton… to have a female voice was still a new idea [in that era]…

On getting his role in the popular ITV drama Nigel noted things didn’t quite go the way he expected after going to the casting director and producers with the ambition of playing an ‘upstairs’ role rather than ‘downstairs’.

When I went for my audition it was for Tom Cullen’s role as Lord Gillingham and I went in and did my best Lord audition – I even ironed my shirt and I had perfect hair – and I charmed the socks off the bosses, or so I thought, and I was thinking ‘that went well’… and my phone went the next day and it was my agent to say ‘they loved you at Downton, but they think you’re much more suited to being downstairs’ so that’s how it came about!

Dowton Abbey airs Sundays on ITV.

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