When we last left Downton Abbey, Anna Bates was being unceremoniously led off to prison for the alleged murder of Mr. Green, Tony Gillingham’s valet. What we don’t know, at this point, is whether or not our sweet, innocent Anna is capable of such a thing. My guess is that she is but only if it’s to protect Mr. ‘it’s surprising what you learn in prison’ Bates from taking matters into his own hands.
However it plays out for Anna, Joanne Froggatt will going from the sweet Anna Bates, whom audiences long for something good to finally happen for her and Mr. Bates, to her next role as noted English murderer, Mary Ann Cotton, in the forthcoming ITV drama, Dark Angel. It’s a bit like James Norton going from Father Sidney Chambers in Grantchester to serial killer and ex-convict, Tommy Lee Royce, in Happy Valley. Personally, I enjoy these polar opposite roles for actors as it really gives you a sense as to their range of characters and, I’m sure, for them it brilliantly stretches their acting ability. Come to think of it, it may not be such a stretch as the real-life Mary Ann Cotton was a housekeeper in real-life…
Dark Angel introduces us to Mary, a loving wife and mother who is newly returned to her native North East of England. When abject poverty and an ailing husband finally take its toll, we get to see just how ruthless and determined she is to pursue her desires for a better life. During the mid-1800’s, the real-life Mary Ann bettered herself socially and financially by traveling around the North East meeting unsuspecting families while marrying and creating new families of her own. Enter the bad Mary Ann. Before killing them, she took their money and moved on.
Dark Angel has it all. Adultery, bigamy, fraud, murder…and, Joanne Froggatt. Can’t wait.