When Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt comes to LA, it’s invariably to either pick up an award or be nominated for one–the actress collected a Golden Globe this year, SAG awards in both 2013 and 2015, and is on her third Emmy nom for her work on the much-loved UK period drama. Froggatt plays lady’s maid Anna Bates, and is currently nominated for a season in which Anna experienced both a brutal rape at the hands of Mr Green, a fellow servant, and her husband’s imprisonment for Green’s murder.
Despite all the accolades, Froggatt is resolutely humble, saying of awards season, “for me the prize is being able to attend–being with your peers who you admire and people believing you belong to be there–that’s an amazing feeling.”
Masterpiece’s Downton is, of course, hugely-loved in the U.S, a factor Froggatt says is, “an amazing feeling. To have that recognition in the States is literally a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to work here and I’ve always watched the awards shows all my life since I was a little girl.”
Winning a Golden Globe this year was a particularly surreal experience Froggatt says. “The next day I literally said to my husband when I woke up in the morning, “did that really happen?” I actually made him pinch me, literally. I do feel like I’m about to wake up again and it’s all going to have been a dream. I just think to myself, ‘enjoy these moments.’ I’ve been working for 17 years as an actress and it would be criminal not to just relax and enjoy it.”
With Downton’s final season almost wrapped, Froggatt has signed on to do another period piece in the UK. Yet this new role is a far cry from the strictly-moral Anna Bates. In Dark Angel, Froggatt will play real-life Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton.
“I got this script sent to me and I said, ‘I don’t know. I quite foresee going to the States for a bit.’ But as soon as I read it I just went, ‘oh my goodness, it’s amazing.’ It’s such a fantastic script. It’s kind of exactly what I’ve been saying I wanted to do. It’s written by Gwyneth Hughes who’s a fantastic writer. We see the character at 25 and she suffered the loss of, through natural causes, four of her own children. Then through the course of her life you see her sort of slip away bit by bit and become this murderer and this sort of psychopath. It’s just a fascinating character, and really very different from Anna–I just couldn’t resist it.”
As for the upcoming final season of Downton, Froggatt reveals, “we do see the mystery behind Mr. Green’s death resolved. Obviously how it’s resolved I can’t tell you, or whether it’s good or bad for the Bates I can’t tell you, but it’s resolved. We get to the bottom with what exactly happened, and as always, there’s quite a lot of drama for Anna and Mr Bates in season six. There are always bits of happiness there for them as well, but it’s never easily attained, so we sort of carry on in that vein to finish off.”