Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael has hit out at the BBC for putting the final series of Spooks on at the same time as the second series of the ITV1 drama.

Speaking to the Sun the actress – who plays Lady Edith Crawley in the show – said she was a fan of Spooks and that the BBC had made a mistake in moving it from its usual Monday night time slot.

“I’ve always loved Spooks — I think they’re mad to put the shows on at the same time,” she said – adding that while the Downton cast were hoping to win the ratings battle, they hoped viewers would record Spooks or watch it later.

Around 10.4m tuned into Downton Abbey when it returned to ITV1 last Sunday, compared with 4.6m who watched Spooks.

Laura added that the success of Downton – which won four Emmy Awards last weekend including Best Miniseries and Best Miniseries actress for Maggie Smith – was largely due to Julian Fellowes’ script and the show’s original storylines.

“I’m lucky to be part of it. I think it’s great to have a period drama with original storylines as opposed to a book that everyone knows. That has intrigued people.”

The cast are currently filming a Christmas special of the show, while a third series looks set to go ahead next year.