Viewers of 'Downton Abbey' have reacted angrily to the latest twist in the series, aired in last night's episode.
Be warned, there are spoilers ahead...
Fans of the show, who were informed of 'violent scenes' before the episode began at 9pm, were shocked to see maid Anna Bates, played by Joanne Froggart, attacked by new character Mr Green, Lord Gillingham's valet played by Nigel Harman.
After trying to force himself on her, Green punches the maid in the face, knocking her to the ground, before appearing to sexually assault her.
The remainder of the scene took place behind closed doors but screams and sounds of further beating could be heard as the scene cut between the assault and a performance by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa singing at a party upstairs in the house.
The episode concluded with Anna excusing her injuries as being caused by an accident.
The plot twist has been described as 'sick and sensationalist' by fans.
One viewer wrote on Twitter: “For ~family drama~ Downton Abbey to use violence against women as a plot point is morally reprehensible.
“I can’t support Julian Fellowes in depicting rape in a show that treats missing tuxedo shirts as a major crisis.”
Others described the dramatic turn of events as 'sick and sensationalist'.
Harman had previously said that Green, a valet, has 'no redeeming qualities' and is likely to 'stir things up'.
A twist in the show was rumoured last week, after ITV withheld previews of the show usually given out to reviewers before the show airs.
When the channel has taken this tack previously, it's been to prevent spoilers such as the death of Lady Sybill in series three and Matthew Crawley in the Christmas special. [Daily Mail]
Also in today's press
Denise Welch has revealed that she is leaving 'Loose Women' after 10 years on the show. In what appears to be an acrimonious split from the ITV chat show, she said she had been 'hurt' by recent changes to the programme, with Coleen Nolan and Kaye Adams now set to return. “Every show needs a shake-up. But the way the show's going I've felt that my wings have been clipped,” she said. “Fundamentally the fun of the show is what made it for me, and I feel the way it's going is losing the fun of it.” [Sunday Mirror]
'The Great British Bake Off' is heading to Germany. Called 'Das Große Backen', it's now one of 13 countries to have bought the rights to the series. [Digital Spay]
106 episodes of 'Doctor Who' which were thought that have been lost have been unearthed at a radio and television agency in Ethiopia. The episodes feature the first two doctors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. [Sunday People]