• Phil Parker

Looking Forward To The Downton Abbey Movie?



I love that trailer for the Downton Abbey movie. The editing, the music, the choices of dialogue - it all combines to press the right emotional buttons for fans of the original show. Strangely enough, though, when I was making promos for TV shows like Downton Abbey at BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios), I wasn't a huge fan.


Perhaps that's because I was forced to watch it. I mean really watch it, and analyse it, so I could figure out how to best promote it on TV. Overcoming my own stubborn resistance was difficult, but I love a creative challenge. And, let's face it, I was spoiled for choice when it came to the material I was working on. If I couldn't make a great promo, the egg was going to be on my face.



Fortunately for me, that material was from Series 2 of Downton Abbey, the series where the upheavals of World War 1 descend upon their neck of the woods and beyond. Fortunate, because war stories are a specialty of mine.


My first-ever screenplay was a script called THE THIRD BOMB which has been optioned twice by a BAFTA-winning producer and is currently being shopped by producers in both Hollywood and the U.K. And my second war story, one I was hired to write called FLY GIRLS, is also being shopped by a producer in Australia and the U.S.



So, as I dug deep into Downton Abbey Series 2 to make my promo, I found not only what I thought was the beating heart of that season, I also discovered a way to use my passion for a particular kind of storytelling to bring it to life on the small screen.


Once it was done, I showed it to my creative director at the BBC.


"Wow, it literally giving me goosebumps. Brilliant." - Dan Aldridge, BBC Studios.


I'll take that kind of compliment to the bank, any day.


I hope you enjoy it, too.


Downton Abbey - Series 2 promo for UKTV



Oh, and two years after leaving the BBC to pursue a career in screenwriting, I finally got around to watching all of Downton Abbey. It's only then that I truly came to appreciate what masterpiece it is of storytelling, acting, design, editing and direction.


Yes, I was late to the party, but I made up for it.


It's hard to be certain after watching a movie trailer whether the actual movie is going to be as good or better than what you've just been promised. The duds are sometimes easy to spot, but promo/trailer makers have made an art form out of "polishing turds" to get people to tune in to a show.


I have a strong feeling, though, that the Downton Abbey movie is going to be no turd. In fact, I predict the audience will clamour for a new series! What do you think?


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