What Happened To Joanne Froggatt From Downton Abbey?

Fans of "Downton Abbey" would be hard-pressed to forget Joanne Froggatt, the actress who played the maid, Anna, over the course of the series. Anna's storyline is one of the most dramatic on the show, from falling in love with the valet, Mr. Bates, to being accused of murder. While the events of "Downton Abbey" take place in the early 20th century, Anna is still an incredibly relatable character, and Froggatt quickly became a fan favorite after the show debuted in 2010.

For five years, Froggatt's character made us laugh and cry, so it's no surprise that her fans want to know what she has been up to since the show wrapped in 2015. Thankfully, Froggatt has kept acting since. While, as she told The Guardian, she already had more than a decade of professional acting experience under her belt when "Downton" first aired, the show "was a gamechanger" for the actress that "hugely elevated" her stardom. She added that the show "finished at the right time," and the roles she has tackled since then explain why. If you've wondered what happened to Joanne Froggatt from "Downton Abbey," we have answers.

Joanne Froggatt lent her voice talents to Bob the Builder

Joanne Froggatt took off her maid's apron for her first post-"Downton Abbey" role (per IMDb). In fact, a costume wasn't required at all for her to voice Wendy in "Bob the Builder," which she did from 2015 to 2018. Aside from a 2014 episode of "Doc McStuffins," this was Froggatt's first professional foray into animation, and she was excited to take on the part, telling the Mirror that she was drawn to the character, as "Wendy is a strong and positive female role model."

Surprisingly, Froggatt found even more fame from "Bob the Builder" than she did from "Downton Abbey," telling The Guardian that people recognize her voice in the oddest places, like in Prague when she went for surgery. She's even been spotted as the voice of Wendy as far away as Australia, where she recalled a young boy approaching her after hearing how familiar she sounded.

She appeared in a handful of low-budget, independent films

Joanne Froggatt has appeared in both film and television roles since "Downton Abbey" wrapped, but you might not have heard of some of the films she's done. Several of them have been low-budget, independent films that might not have made it big at the box office but are, nevertheless, charming.

While films like 2016's "A Street Cat Named Bob," 2017's "A Crooked Somebody," 2018's "One Last Thing," and "Starfish" from 2019 may only ring a bell for the most dedicated of film aficionados, starring in the flicks broadened Froggatt's horizons after spending most of her career on television. They also offered her the opportunity to play a wide variety of characters, from a drug counselor in "A Street Cat Named Bob" to a woman supporting her husband through a sepsis diagnosis in "Starfish," a dental hygienist in "One Last Thing," and the partner of a traveling psychic in "A Crooked Somebody."

As for just how different all of those characters were from Anna of "Downton Abbey," that was just what Froggatt was going for. "I loved Downton, but I didn't want to play another nice maid. I get bored easily," she once told The Sunday Times.

The actress played a serial killer in Dark Angel

It's almost hard to picture that, on "Downton Abbey," Anna was accused of murder (though she was, of course, found innocent of all charges), since the sweet-natured Anna seems like she wouldn't hurt a fly, but Joanne Froggatt is quite a versatile actress who can just as convincingly play someone who would commit not just one murder, but several. Enter her role as real-life serial killer Mary Ann Cotton in the 2016 mini-series "Dark Angel." While still a period piece — "Dark Angel" takes place in the 19th century — the character of Mary Ann is quite different from Anna, an irony that isn't lost on Froggatt, who quipped to British Heritage that she'd like to "play a murderer or something completely different" after finishing "Downton." She added, "Then I was sent the script for 'Dark Angel' and I went, 'Oh! Well, I better put my money where my mouth is then, because here it is!'"

Per Britannica, Cotton is believed to have killed at least 21 people. If true, this would make her the most lethal female serial killer in the U.K., although it should be noted that she was only convicted of one murder, for which she was executed. Of her "Dark Angel" character, Froggatt told Show Patrol, "I can't say I like this person because I don't. But I am fascinated by her."

She portrayed a wicked stepmother in Mary Shelley

"Downton Abbey" fans will no doubt remember Anna's fertility struggles on the show and how excited she was to become a mother. The doting mother she played on the show serves as a sharp contrast to her role of a wicked stepmother in the biopic "Mary Shelley," which centers on the "Frankenstein" author's relationship with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Froggatt starred opposite Elle Fanning in the film, playing her "horrible stepmother," as she referred to the character in an interview with The Irish News. While the character of Mrs. Shelley was less than pleasant — or, perhaps, because of her nastiness — Froggatt had a blast on set. "I had such a lovely time on that job," she revealed to the outlet. "It was such a talented cast and I just loved all of them, they were brilliant and such fun to be around."

The star reprised her role in the Downton Abbey film

Fans who weren't content with seeing Joanne Froggatt star in the many projects she landed after "Downton Abbey" were given a treat when she reprised the role of Anna in a film that continues the story of the Crawley family and their servants. The 2019 film saw the return of most of the main cast, and Froggatt, for one, couldn't have been happier to reunite with her castmates after several years apart, telling The Telegraph it "was like a school reunion."

During a panel for Variety, Froggatt revealed that getting back into her lady's maid costume was "very surreal" but that she quickly readjusted to the character. "It's just joyous to be able to go back and have a reunion and relive this special time of my life and all our lives," she said.

While revisiting the world of "Downton Abbey" was a thrill for Froggatt, she admitted to Collider that she didn't think the movie would become as beloved as it did. "We hoped that people would want to see it, and we hoped it would get an audience at the cinema, but none of us dreamed it would be as popular at the cinema as it was," she said.

Joanne Froggatt starred in a dystopian thriller about infertility

In 2019, Joanne Froggatt tried her hand at a dystopian thriller playing Eadie Boulay on the show, "The Commons." Set in a not-so-distant future, "The Commons" explores a world ravaged by climate change, in which IVF treatments become astronomically expensive when a prospective parent hits their late 30s. For Eadie, the clock is ticking as she desperately tries to conceive before hitting the cutoff age. Froggatt was drawn to the script, telling Mamamia that she was moved by Eadie's fertility struggle, "which is something that happens to so many women and couples."

While a fictional story, it's one that will sound familiar to many, and Froggatt was excited to bring it and all of its complexities to the screen. "There's an epic nature to this story, but it's also about Eadie thinking about the type of world she's going to bring her child into," she said, adding, "It's not a subject matter that we ever talk about very much."

She challenged herself with a role in Liar

Joanne Froggatt may make acting look easy, but she puts a lot of work into her roles. That's especially true of "Liar," in which she plays Laura, a woman who accuses her date of sexual assault. The 2017 series explores the investigation and whether Laura is telling the truth. "As a woman it was very interesting," Froggatt told Elle. "The questions that are thrown up feel socially and emotionally important: how easy or difficult it is to find out the truth of any situation, and how easy it is for things to be misconstrued."

The show was renewed for a second season, which premiered in 2020. Froggatt told BT that she received much positive feedback for her portrayal of Laura, saying, "It was probably one of the biggest reactions to anything I've done, emotionally ... I was very pleased with that."

That being said, portraying Laura wasn't exactly a walk in the park. "It's definitely one of the most challenging characters I've played," she told BT, citing her research into assault and the flaws in the legal system, such as how only a small percentage of reported rapes ever make it to trial. While the show may be fictional, Froggatt was very aware of "all of those real things surrounding" assault.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Joanne Froggatt joined the cast of a podcast

One of Joanne Froggatt's more surprising roles following her time on "Downton Abbey" is that of Police Sergeant Jackie O'Hara on "The Harrowing." Not only is a supernatural thriller a stark departure from the world of "Downton," but it is also a story told in a relatively new format: a podcast. Per Apple Podcasts, the show takes place on a remote Scottish island where "a barbaric crime sets off a chain of events which heralds the rise of an ancient evil and threatens to change the course of history."

The spooky story unfolds over the course of eight episodes and also features "Bridgerton" star Regé-Jean Page. Froggatt told Deadline of the role, "It was an absolute pleasure to work on this dark, supernatural thriller. The pull between good and evil, and heaven and hell sets the tone for this incredible story."

In Angela Black, she told an important story about domestic abuse

The titular role in "Angela Black" was yet another chance for Joanne Froggatt to break out of her "Downton Abbey" shell. Reading the script, she found herself intrigued by the psychological thriller, which, per Deadline, focuses on a woman whose "seemingly perfect life" is anything but, as she lives with an abusive husband. 

In an interview with British Period Dramas, Froggatt said she believes it was important to tell Angela's story and for the media to explore "sensitive subject matters," such as domestic abuse. She explained, "I feel passionate about that because I feel that drama and entertainment can be a window into a subject matter for an audience" where it "may never have been on their radar." Froggatt expressed a similar sentiment to Express, telling the outlet that she believes "Angela Black" "opens up conversations" about a difficult topic to discuss.

Outside of the role, Froggatt is an outspoken advocate for ending violence against women, telling The Guardian that she believes the key is "educating our society." She added, "My male friends have started seriously thinking about how women can feel vulnerable and making the streets safer."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

The actress experienced a divorce

Joanne Froggatt's acting career may be thriving, but her personal life hasn't been smooth sailing. She and her then-husband, James Cannon, separated in 2020. The following year, they announced they were divorcing.

Froggatt and Cannon tied the knot in 2012, and she admitted to Red Magazine (via Hello!) that she didn't expect things to turn out the way they did, although she has come to terms with it. "I didn't think I'd be divorced, I didn't think we'd be going through a pandemic, I didn't think my life would be in flux in the way it was," she said. "But I'm [okay] with that."

While the divorce was unexpected, Froggatt powered through, taking over the production company, Run After It, she previously ran with her husband. While celebrity divorces often become tabloid fodder, Froggatt was able to keep the details of her breakup largely private, which she told The Guardian made her "glad I'd kept my privacy." She explained to the outlet that she "always had a line" when it came to her personal life, declining paid interviews and in-depth looks into her home life. "I was so grateful I'd maintained that boundary," she said.

Joanne Froggatt turned 40 and feels 'empowered'

Since "Downton Abbey" wrapped, Joanne Froggatt has had a lot on her plate. She's had pretty much her pick of roles — thanks to her growing popularity. She's also gone through heartbreak and turned 40. Hitting the milestone birthday in 2020 made her feel "empowered," as she told The Guardian. Froggatt explained that she feels she gets better with age. "I know my mind and feel the most comfortable in my own skin I ever have," she said.

While the acting industry can often seem obsessed with youth, Froggatt added that this isn't necessarily the case anymore and that "times are changing." Said the "Downton" star, "Age is something to be embraced. The older you get, the better an actor you are" (via The Guardian).

In an interview with the Independent, Froggatt opened up further about turning 40, saying she doesn't understand why the age is so often viewed as "a negative," adding, "It's like as women, we still have to be reduced to whether we're attractive to other human beings or not."

She's excited for yet another Downton movie

The unexpected success of the 2019 "Downton Abbey" film had fans clamoring for another one. Joanne Froggatt told Collider in 2020 that, while she wasn't sure how filming another movie would work "logistically" since they'd have to coordinate the schedules of such a large cast, she expressed her willingness to don Anna's apron once again. "We'll have to just wait and see, but it would be lovely to do a second one," she said.

Moreover, the actress has hinted that she'd be happy to portray Anna for years to come, telling Harper's Bazaar, "I think this story can be never ending when you've got that many different characters, personalities, relationships — whether they be romantic or friendships or feuds."

Fortunately for fans, they got their wish. Another film, with Froggatt reprising her role yet again, was announced the next year. Originally slated for a Christmas 2021 release, the second "Downton" film – just one of many movie sequels in the works — was pushed to March 2022.

She is set to star in the mini-series Last Light

In September 2021, it was announced that Joanne Froggatt would join the cast of "Last Light," a mini-series based on the novel of the same name. Per Deadline, the show will consist of five episodes and center on a family living in a post-apocalyptic world. Froggatt is set to portray family matriarch Elena Neilson, a dedicated mother who quits her job to spearhead fundraising efforts to research an eye condition that her son, Sam, has been diagnosed with. Elena is also struggling in her marriage, "which has been strained to the breaking point."

"Last Light" also marks the television return of "Lost" star Matthew Fox, who focused on film projects after the series wrapped in 2010. Fox is set to play the husband of Froggatt's character, making for quite the star-studded cast. The show is slated for a 2022 release.