BAFTA Celebrates Downton Abbey brochure

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BAFTA Celebrates

Downton Abbey 11 August 2015

A Foreword by Julian Fellowes


o say that the past six years have

series which, if there were to be no further commissions, could serve as the conclusion. It was actually based on a real moment in my late father’s life when he, as a child of two, had gone to a garden party with his parents at a house called Hurstbourne Park, in Hampshire. In the middle of the merry-making, a man came out on to the terrace and silenced the band. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “I regret to announce that we are at war with Germany.” It was 4 August 1914. That is exactly how we finished the final episode, in case it was all we would see of the Crawleys. In the event, fate thought otherwise. And now it is ending and we are coming in to land. I can only really speak for myself, but I feel incredibly grateful to have been allowed this extraordinary ride even once in my life. I don’t really know why it all happened, but I am very grateful that it did. It has been an amazing experience and one that I heartily recommend. We have all made lasting friends among those we’ve worked with, and I genuinely believe that Downton Abbey will remain in our memories as a very happy show that was a real privilege to be a part of.

been quite an adventure would be something of an understatement. As with so many things in life, when Gareth Neame and I sat down for dinner in a second-rate restaurant in Notting Hill, and he asked me if I would consider returning to Gosford Park territory for television neither of us had the slightest idea of what we were getting into. As it happens, the place where we’d planned to eat was closed and it was raining, so we went to the nearest alternative – not a good choice – and over our indifferent feed, Gareth suggested the show that would become Downton Abbey. We have all been asked whether we had any idea of the impact the series would make and the answer is of course not. We knew we had managed to gather together a spectacular cast – some of whom I imagined in the roles when I was writing, others who leapt off the screen as perfect the moment we clapped eyes on them – and the mood during filming had been buoyant. But even so, I had deliberately constructed a last scene for the first


Downton vol.1 no.1

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THE BEST OF BRITISH BAFTA CELEBRATES DOWNTON ABBEY This evening, BAFTA presents a Special Award to Downton Abbey. With its exploration of the British aristocracy and social mores, the show is a quintessentially British drama, but it is also one that has engendered incredible global recognition and success over its six-year run. Downton Abbey has drawn high viewing figures since its UK debut on ITV in 2010, and this has been replicated around the world. In the US, Downton Abbey is PBS’ most successful drama ever, and the show has been seen by an estimated 270 million viewers worldwide. Carnival Films’ MD and Downton Abbey executive producer, Gareth Neame, said: “Downton Abbey is an expressly British drama and that has been a part of its international success, including the most successful show ever to go to the United States. So for the show to be given a British Academy Special Award means more to us than anything, more than all of the other awards that we have won globally. It reflects all of the things that go into making it and it is tremendously important to us.”


Tuesday 11 August 2015

Iron pages before reading


This Englishman’s Home is a Castle

Downton Abbey’s production is as green as the lush grounds that fill the Abbey’s estate. The show achieved a three-star rating from the rigorous albert+ audit, a prestigious industry mark of sustainability. This is the highest accolade the certification scheme awards, and underlines the cast and crew’s commitment to cleaner, greener production measures. A sustainable approach to production was embraced across all series, resulting in a lower carbon footprint and a number of cost savings. The Carnival Films’ team instigated many innovative sustainable initiatives for the series, including using low-energy lighting on its stages, resulting in 50 per cent power savings; adopting hybrid unit cars to reduce emissions; and eliminating polystyrene in its catering, switching to biodegradable disposables instead, trialling food waste collection for anaerobic digestion and re-cycling.

Most fans will be able to tell you that the fictional Yorkshire estate of Downton Abbey is actually Highclere Castle in West Berkshire, the country seat of the Carnarvon family, who have lived there since 1679. The house as it looks today was designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament, who was commissioned in 1838 to renovate the original building. The interiors were finished in 1878, and many feature in Downton Abbey. However, the servants’ quarters on the site have been modernised, so the scenes set ‘downstairs’ are filmed at Ealing Studios. The 1,000 acres of parkland that surround the grand house were designed by renowned landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Since Downton Abbey’s debut on ITV in 2010, visitor numbers have doubled at Highclere, with tourists visiting from all over the world. The estate is open to the public between the months of July and September each year.

Bluebird of Happiness Downton Abbey engages with its many fans over social media, using two official Twitter accounts, @DowntonAbbey and @VoiceofDownton. The most popular tweet to date was one congratulating actress Joanne Froggatt on her Golden Globe on 11 January 2015, which received 2,958 ‘Favorites’. The most retweeted message was on 26 March this year, relaying the sad news that series six would be the last. More than 2,280 fans relayed the message to their followers.

What’s in a Name? The origin of Downton Abbey’s title comes from co-creator Julian Fellowes’ great-grandfather, Professor John Wrightson, who founded Downton Agricultural College in 1880, near Salisbury. Rather amusingly, a search on Google for ‘Downtown Abbey’ returns 483,000 results. II


The Making Of

Downton Abbey The creation of a television drama series is the work of many people, both in front of and behind the camera. We take a look at just a few of the expert practitioners who make Downton Abbey the international success it isÉ


he morning newspapers were late on that fateful day of 16 April

immediately grabbed the attention of the television journalists gathered in the library of a grand Knightsbridge town house in September 2010 to watch a preview. On the 26 September, the rest of the UK became equally enamoured, taking to the series from the off. The Downton Abbey phenomenon was born. “We knew that to have a very ambitious period drama on ITV it had to be different,” explains executive producer Liz Trubridge. “It had to capture people in a way that nothing had done for the last 30 years.” Carnival Films’ managing director and fellow Downton Abbey executive producer, Gareth Neame, recalls: “We set out to make a television show that had all the narrative thrust and pace of storytelling of a modern American series, combined with cinematic production values and the best costumes, sets, music and cinematography.”

1912, shortly after the unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg. “Do The Times first. He only reads that at breakfast,” was the instruction butler Mr Carson ( Jim Carter) gave to second footman, William (Thomas Howes), tasked with ironing the newsprint conveying the terrible news to his lordship, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville). A major moment in history, the Titanic’s sinking provided the backdrop to our introduction to the Crawley family and their servants. Downton Abbey’s first episode began with the whistle of a dawn steam train carrying life-changing news to the Crawleys against the stark punctuation of a Morse code telegram key and a soundtrack by John Lunn, destined to become iconic the world over. Director Brian Percival’s remarkable opening sequence

By Ian Wylie


The in-house production tagline was ‘Merchant Ivory meets The West Wing’. Perhaps it’s this mix that has led to Downton Abbey’s remarkable success. There’s simply been no stopping the show, which is produced by Carnival Films, since that opening episode. After capturing the hearts of the British nation, it soon charmed and conquered America, where it is broadcaster PBS’ highest rated drama series ever. In a way that has been little seen in the modern age, Downton Abbey has become a global brand, “Julian’s scripts are real page turners,” with sales to more than 250 territories. notes Neame. “We very often play With the look of a black and white movie below out an entire story in no more than stairs moving to a rich colour palette upstairs, offering three scenes.” an instant visual contrast between the two social Lunn’s music plays an important classes, Downton Abbey’s aesthetic is unique. Production role in capturing the mood of these designer Donal Woods – who has worked on every scenes, weaving in and out of the story, single episode across the six series, which, in turn, has while the main theme sets the tone for led to three BAFTA nominations – was part of the the series, delivering a rousing sense of core team of Julian Fellowes, Neame and Trubridge, time and place. His work on the show which chose Highclere Castle in Berkshire to depict has earned the composer two BAFTA the family’s grand home. It was an inspired choice, nominations. Trubridge notes: “We with the house now as synonymous with the show heard this piece: I remember tears as its characters. coming to my eyes the moment we With up to 26 main characters featuring in each saw that first sequence with the music 48-minute episode, the storytelling pace has to be rapid. set to it.” Below: All dressed up for baby Sybil’s christening. Above: Clapperboards at the ready. Opposite page: The hair and make-up team go to work.


Costume design (which won a BAFTA in 2014), along with hair and make-up, have also played their own crucial roles in Downton Abbey’s sparkling success story. Unlike many historical dramas, which are set in one time and place, the teams have had to adapt the hair, make-up and costumes to reflect the passage of time from 1912 to the mid-1920s, when the final series is set. “It’s one of those rare television dramas that has influenced fashion around the world,” reflects Neame. “One costume maker might be working for two weeks sewing sequins into one dress that’s going to appear in one scene.”

Downton AbbeyÕs

BAFTA ROSTER WINS 2011 Director Ð Fiction/Entertainment, Brian Percival 2011 Sound Ð Fiction, Nigel Heath, Alex Sawyer, Adam Armitage, Mark Holding 2014 Costume Design, Caroline McCall

NOMINATIONS 2011 Production Design, Donal Woods 2011 Photography and Lighting Ð Fiction, David Katznelson 2011 Editing Ð Fiction, John Wilson 2011 YouTube Audience Award 2011 Supporting Actor, Brendan Coyle 2011 Drama Series, Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge, Nigel Marchant 2012 Production Design, Judy Farr, Donal Woods 2012 Original Television Music, John Lunn 2012 Costume Design, Susannah Buxton 2012 Supporting Actress, Maggie Smith 2013 Production Design, Donal Woods 2015 Original Television Music, John Lunn

ItÕs one of those rare television dramas that has influenced fashion around the world. He continues: “Our costume designers’ efforts are like Donal Woods and John Lunn’s work, just as the sound team similarly make sure the dialogue is impeccable, the pronunciations are right and the sound effects are accurate. They are, ultimately, all storytellers and these are all elements that go into telling the story. “The audience should not be aware of it, but each one of these departments is doing such precise work that comes together to make the whole drama what it is.” Not least in the workings of television’s most watched bell board in the Abbey’s servants’ hall. Although it is perhaps not as grand as viewers might believe. Trubridge smiles: “Every time those bells ring, it is a prop man standing behind that board pulling a little bit of wire.” VII

All smiles. Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes with Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Samantha Bond (Lady Rosamund) and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley) during filming of the 2011 Christmas episode at the conclusion of series two. The episode featured the annual servants’ ball, where footman Thomas (Rob James-Collier) danced with Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet (Maggie Smith). Recalls Bonneville: “They were a sight to behold. It was a joy. Poetry in motion.”

Family Album

Unlike the conflict and bickering often depicted in the show, ask any cast or crew member of Downton Abbey about the filming process and they will all tell you that they get on like one big, happy family, as this peek behind the scenes reveals. Words: Ian Wylie

Crew and cast, including Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Elizabeth McGovern (Countess of Grantham, Cora) and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), gather for Christmas Day in 1919. The Gallery at Highclere Castle overlooks the Saloon at the heart of the house, where this scene was shot. Filming of the new series would start in the spring of each year. “There’s nothing like that first journey up to those front doors,” explains McGovern. “It’s just the most beautiful vista known to man.”


Maggie Smith is an expert at word games on screen and off. Responsible for many of Downton Abbey’s celebrated bon mots, she is seen here playing Bananagrams, a cast favourite, with Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern during a break in filming. Another regular player is Penelope Wilton, who explains: “It keeps us quiet and under control. We don’t go wandering off and can’t be found.”

ThereÕs nothing like that first journey up to those front doors. ItÕs just the most beautiful vista known to man. Elizabeth McGovern

Series five, set in 1924, witnessed the ever-growing Downton Abbey family. Entertaining the children are Laura Carmichael and her screen daughter, Marigold (played by twins Eva and Karina Samms); Michelle Dockery with Lady Mary’s son, George (played by Oliver and Zac Barker); and Allen Leech with Tom Branson’s daughter, Sybil, aka ‘Sybbie’ (Fifi Hart). “I used to work as a teaching assistant and nanny when I was a ‘struggling actress’, so I loved it when the children were on set,” explains Carmichael.


The World of Downton Abbey Debuting on 9 January 2011 on PBS, Downton Abbey was an overnight success in the US. It has since gone on to become the most-watched drama in the network’s history, the most popular series in Masterpiece’s 44-year history and one of US television’s most popular dramas. Season five averaged an audience of 12.9 million viewers over the course of its run. Downton Abbey also holds the record for the British television drama with the most Emmy nominations, the US’ top television awards. To date, it has 59 nominations and won 11. [Sources: Nielsen, via;]

Downton Abbey has won several international honours, including Spain’s TP de Oro Award for Best Foreign Series (2012); Best Overseas Series at the Shanghai International Television Festival (2012); and Best Mini Series at the Banff Television Festival (2011); while Michelle Dockery won China’s Huading Award for Best Global Actress In A Television Series (2013). [Source:]

Downton Abbey proved to be a big hit in Scandinavia on its debut in 2011. It was the biggest international show in Sweden, with a 33 per cent share of the audience. In Norway, series one delivered a 35 per cent share; and in Denmark, it was the second highest rated international show, attracting 22 per cent of the audience. [Source: ] Downton Abbey is distributed internationally by NBCUniversal International Studios

Alfred Nugent Matt Milne Joseph Molesley Kevin Doyle

James Kent Ed Speleers

Andy Michael Fox

Thomas Barrow Rob James-Collier

Isobel Crawley Charles Carson Penelope Wilton Jim Carter Rose Aldridge (née MacClare) Lily James

John Bates Brendan Coyle William Mason Thomas Howes

Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Atticus Aldridge Matt Barber X

Violet Grantham Maggie Smith

Robert Grantham Hugh Bonneville

Rosamund Painswick (née Crawley) Samantha Bond

Actor Hugh Bonneville joked that the worldwide success of Downton Abbey was because “It’s Breaking Bad with tea instead of meth.” With the show broadcast in more than 250 territories, he may have underestimated its appeal. Here are just a few highlights from across the globeÉ

Chinese state television, CCTV, began broadcast of series one of Downton Abbey in April 2013, after dubbing the show into Mandarin. To celebrate the Chinese premier’s visit to the UK the following year, British PM David Cameron gave Li Keqiang a copy of the shooting script for Downton Abbey’s first episode, signed by Julian Fellowes. [Sources:;] Greek state television, the NET channel, came under fire from Downton Abbey fans on social media in 2012 when it edited out a kiss between two male characters. NET stated that the scene was edited out to comply with rules on the time slot and parental consent label given to the show. An unedited version was broadcast the following night. [Source:] The Japanese have been using Downton Abbey to learn English. The courses, introduced in 2013 by The British Council, use clips and scripts of the show to help Japanese students learn the language. The first course was oversubscribed within a day of its announcement, with some students travelling more than 600 miles to attend the class. [Sources:;]

On its debut in 2011, Downton Abbey was the biggest new drama launch in Australia for three years, with 1.8 million viewers tuning in to watch it on the Seven Network. New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa made a guest appearance in the show’s fourth series, playing real-life Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba. Other notable guest stars on the show have included Shirley MacLaine, Paul Giamatti, Charlie Cox, Nigel Havers, James Fox, and, in a special mini episode for ITV’s Text Santa charity, Joanna Lumley and George Clooney. [Sources: ,,]

Sarah O’Brien Siobhan Finneran Beryl Patmore Lesley Nicol

Elsie Hughes Phyllis Logan Martha Levinson Shirley MacLaine

Phyllis Baxter Raquel Cassidy

Edith Crawley Laura Carmichael

Daisy Mason (née Robinson) Sophie McShera

Cora Grantham (née Levinson) Elizabeth McGovern Mary Crawley Michelle Dockery

Sybil Branson (née Crawley) Jessica Brown Findlay XI

Tom Branson Allen Leech Anna Bates (née Smith) Joanne Froggatt

Ivy Stuart Cara Theobold

With Thanks… BAFTA Celebrates Downton Abbey


11 August 2015, Richmond Theatre The British Academy of Film and Television Arts would like to thank all those who have made the BAFTA Celebrates Downton Abbey event possible.

Editor Toby Weidmann Designer Joe Lawrence Contributor Ian Wylie Photo of Julian Fellowes by BAFTA/Stephen Butler

The Academy chooses Fabriano, supporting excellence in print. Brochure printed on Fabriano Colore Bianco 350g/m² (cover) and 170g/m² (text), supplied by Denmaur.

Downton Abbey images courtesy of Carnival Films/Masterpiece © BAFTA 2015


Thank you Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame, Carnival Films and all the cast and production team for 52 outstanding episodes of Britain’s most successful television drama From all at ITV, the home of Downton Abbey XIV


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Congratulations to all at Carnival Films and ITV on the success of this truly great British drama. It has been an honour and a pleasure to have been part of the Downton phenomenon.




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