The final season of the hit show began airing in the U.K. last month (Sep15) but the latest episode, broadcast on Sunday night (18Oct15), has sparked a storm online.

In a grisly scene, the Earl of Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville, falls ill and unexpectedly projectile vomits blood over fellow guests at a dinner party, but fans took to social media in droves to complain about the stomach-churning moment.

Many accused producers of taking the show down an unwelcome graphic route, while others compared it to gory horror movies Saw, Alien, and The Exorcist.

Viewers were warned before the broadcast that the episode featured "shocking scenes" but officials at U.K. TV watchdog the Office of Communications (Ofcom) had received three complaints by Monday (19Oct15) and are assessing them before deciding whether to investigate further.