Downton Abbey star Lily James was bombarded with online abuse after she landed her role in the hit British period drama.

The 24-year-old actress joined the show as Lady Rose MACClare in the third season, which was shot in 2012, and she has now revealed her account was swamped with nasty messages after her casting.

James is convinced fans of the show were unhappy with her arrival because it came so soon after the exit of Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil Crawley, and they simply took out their anger on her.

She tells Wonderland magazine, "I got loads of nasty tweets when I started on the show. I got, 'She's not even pretty, she's just nasty'. It was kind of taking over my life for a while. I think everyone liked Lady Sybil so much."

James admits she confided her troubles in her co-star Tom Cullen, who plays Lord Gillingham, and he helped her deal with the online abuse. She adds, "Tom reminded me you have to stay true to a character and that I should not worry about the negativity from the fans."