DOWNTON Abbey actress Joanne Froggatt, who plays Anna in the hit TV series, passed on the secrets of stardom to Oxfordshire youngsters.

The star joined in workshops with four- and five year-olds and also helped older children as they began rehearsals for Down and Out in the West End.

She told the Oxford Mail during the sessions: “I’ve been working with the four- and five-year-olds, so we’ve been doing music and drama games.

“They are too young for Downton, but there’s another group aged seven to 14 later who may have an idea.

“I have already spoken to a few mums who are Downton watchers who have been very nice about the show.”

Despite often filming the drama in Bampton, she said she was rarely recognised in Oxfordshire.

“I do look quite different off screen,” she explained.

“People look at me and think ‘you look familiar’, but it’s not an instant recognition.

“I do get quite a warm reception – in the past I have played characters that aren’t very nice and then you do get a different reaction from the public.”

Explaining her connection to drama school the i-stage academy at Sibford Ferris, near Banbury, where Saturday’s workshops were held, she said: “I’m the best friend of [drama teacher] Katie Dunstall and we trained together at stage school. She’s a very close friend and that’s why I’m here – we try to support each other’s ventures.”

Four-year-old Lewis Westworth, who goes to Shenington Primary School, was one of those to take part in the workshop.

He said: “I’ve been playing musical statues and pretending to be Robin Hood.

“It has been a lot of fun, because I like being Robin Hood and we’ve been dressing up.”