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Note: The following article contains discussion of themes such as domestic violence that some readers may find upsetting.
Angela Black star Joanne Froggatt has opened up about the ITV thriller's harrowing opener.
The six-parter's first episode, which aired on Sunday (October 10), begins with a dinner party scene, where the eponymous character (played by Froggatt) and her husband Olivier (The Flight Attendant's Michiel Huisman) are entertaining some guests.
During the evening, Angela lets slip that Olivier went golfing recently, when he'd actually told his present pal – who'd invited him to lunch that day – that he was working, causing him to shoot her a disgruntled look. Then, when the other couple went home, he picked a fight with her for "embarrassing" him in front of their mates.
Angela tried to defuse the situation and assured him that his friends have likely forgotten all about it by now. She goes to walk off but Olivier, mostly offscreen, grabs her hair and pulls her out of shot. What follows is a series of audible thuds and pained cries from Angela, before the camera pans down to reveal a bloodied tooth on the floor.
"You don't actually see that much. You just see the beginning, and then you hear," Froggatt told Digital Spy and other press recently. "But you feel like you've seen so much more.
"[Director] Craig [Viveiros] was really interested in picking apart the psychology of the situation and that's what [creators] Jack and Harry [Williams] wrote so well, a very Hitchcockian style, and everything else lent itself to that psychological build rather than it being gratuitous in any way, because that's never what any of us wanted to do."
The sequence, which played out before the title card had even popped up, prompted a mixed response from viewers. Some praised it for not shying away from the realities of coercive control and domestic violence, while others criticised its timing.
"It might be shocking... but it needs putting out there," one Twitter user wrote. "Some people survive and get away, but many don't. Awareness needs raising, and not just women, men go through it too."
"Unbelievable #ITV #AngelaBlack with violence towards women increasing, you show a programme where a man beats her while she screams knocking her teeth out?" another argued. "Really, in this pervasive atmosphere of hate towards women, when women feel unsafe to walk the streets? Shame on you."
Angela Black continues on Sunday, October 17 at 9pm on ITV.
If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, organisations including Refuge (www.refuge.org.uk) and Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) can provide further support and information. The 24-hour, freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Organisations including Women's Aid can provide further support and information on coercive control or coercive behaviour.
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