Saturday, November 06, 2010

Downton Abbey fans brace for farewell

Downton Abbey (written by Julian Fellowes) has been ITV's most successful costume drama since Brideshead Revisited, and a second series is on the way.

By Viv Groskop in The Guardian:
Downtown's makers, Carnival Films – owned by the US media giant NBC Universal – are poised to make millions by selling the format overseas, having footed 25% of the cost of producing the series, with ITV paying the remainder. That is unusual: most commissions are paid for solely by the channel which first screens it, but NBC has deeper pockets than most. But as the ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier, hinted this week, Downton Abbey also signals a new direction for ITV, away from "lowest common denominator" shows such as X Factor towards more arts programming and quality drama.


  1. Lately I've been sensing a sea change in the British drama air and quite a hopeful mixed metaphor it is too. Or, to put it simply, I think we're entering a grand new phase in British drama.

    When "The Bill" was taken off after 27 years, Laura Mackie at ITV promised that the freed slots would be used for new original homegrown dramas, and not just more reality shows or soaps. Downton Abbey is one of the first of the new flock and it reminds us all of the glory that was ITV.

    Downton Abbey is an original work; one steered by a writer with a distinctive voice; a cast you'd kill for and a budget the size of a banker's bonus. What more could we ask for?

    Ben Stephenson at the BBC is also producing world class original dramas; not coming out of any mass-produced and endlessly repeated templates. The competition between the television companies can only raise the standard and our expectations even more.

    I can't remember being this optimistic about the state of British telly for quite some time. Let's make our drama... and comedy... the envy of the world again.

  2. Anonymous1:12 pm

    Whilst I agree with your sentiments Gail - all I see is unemployed writers everywhere.

  3. Anonymous2:45 pm

    Country house crap designed to appeal to the kind of idiots who gloss over the past in order to justify the present - the kind of people who prefer a Tory Government because "they're our sort" - and Gail thinks this kind of thing is exciting...I'll retire to Bedlam !

  4. Anonymous3:27 pm

    Have to agree with Anon. I've found it utterly depressing that this basic excuse for a drama series has been hailed as such a success.

    Cardboard cut-out characters spout execrable, exposition-laden dialogue in utterly predictable situations.

    I just hope the new series of "Upstairs Downstairs" is an improvement.

  5. Unless there's been a change to the law by the coalition, we're all allowed to like or dislike the shows of our choice. Dislike away! The point which is being missed is that original high end scripted drama is being produced by ITV and other British broadcasters again.

    But a year or so ago, ITV was mainly concentrating on reality shows, which doesn't provide work for writers. I will always celebrate our colleagues getting work.


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