Joanne Froggatt, who plays the maid Anna in Downton Abbey, spoke about the public response to the sexual assault of her character in season four at a recent screening debut of the first episode.

According to The Guardian, she said: "The reactions I got personally from people on the street were all positive, actually. I didn't have one negative response.

"I felt very honoured to receive letters from women who'd been through similar experiences. It was very touching for me that these women felt able to be very candid with me and honest in that way. It was very moving."

The drama has been nominated for a further 12 Emmys in the US this year, making it the most nominated international show.

Executive Producer Gareth Neame said he hoped the series would return next year.

"We have to make a judgement with the producers and the cast but I find myself getting more compelled by the characters," he said.

He was asked when Downton might come to an end. "Margaret Thatcher's landslide," he answered impishly, though clearly plans to take the series that far into the twentieth century are purely speculative at this point.