Joanne Froggatt has said she was contacted by victims of sexual assault after rape drama Liar aired in 2017.

The actress, best known for her portrayal of Anna Bates in Downton Abbey, starred as a teacher who claimed she was assaulted during a date with a surgeon, played by Ioan Gruffudd.

The allegations led to a “he said/she said” scenario which left viewers hooked.

The series – from ITV and Sundance TV – ended with the discovery of the surgeon’s dead body, and the forthcoming second series will focus on who killed him.

Froggatt said at least six people had confided in her about their assault and not being believed.

She said it had been “quite a responsibility” knowing that victims would be watching her portrayal at home.

Asked whether she had received any letters from those affected by her performance, she said: “I didn’t after Liar – I did after my storyline on Downton Abbey.

“I have had people speak to me in person, a few people. I did have a lot of people actually speak to me in person about Liar, saying that…

Liar season 2
Joanne Froggatt and Katherine Kelly in the new season of Liar (ITV/PA)

“I didn’t receive any letters from people, but I did have at least six people (who) said that they had been assaulted and hadn’t been believed, or had been to the police.

“Someone told me their 19-year-old daughter had been assaulted and they’d been to the police and they knew who it was but there’s no investigation being carried out.

“She very kindly said to me, she said it was just so real, your anger was really exactly how we feel, which was a very grounding thing for me to hear.

“So yeah, when you’re filming something on a day-to-day basis, it’s quite a big thing to realise that when it does go out, it’s quite a responsibility to know that things like this do happen to people and those people are possibly going to be watching what you do and you want it to be as believable as possible for their sake.

“The worst thing for me would be someone watching what I do and think it was unbelievable, especially if they’ve been through that sort of experience themselves.”

Liar season 2
Katherine Kelly joins the cast (ITV/PA)

Katherine Kelly, Howard Charles and Amy Nuttall have joined the cast of the thriller, which was a ratings hit when it aired in 2017.

The first series of Liar was ITV’s highest-rated new drama of that year, with 9.1 million people tuning in for the final episode.

Liar returns to ITV on Monday March 2 at 9pm.