TV special features Jim Carter, Hugh Bonneville, Lesley Nichol, Allen Leech and Michael C. Fox
(London) Drive, the production-funding and distribution agency, today announces its appointment by Irish producer Peninsula Television to distribute a landmark documentary special that offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at the critically acclaimed historical period drama series ‘Downton Abbey’.
‘Return to Downton Abbey’ (1 x 60’) is the international version of Peninsula Television’s US television special, which was commissioned by NBC & Focus Features and airs on the US network on 19th September. Executive producers for the show are Ronan Hand and David Harvey.
The show is narrated by actor Jim Carter, who played loyal butler Mr Carson in the global ratings hit that has aired in more than 100 territories around the world.
The special follows Carter on his nostalgic trip to main ‘Downton Abbey’ filming location – Highclere Castle – where he introduces viewers to wealth of behind the scenes sequences and other members of the show’s internationally recognizable cast, including lead actor Hugh Bonneville (Earl of Grantham), Lesley Nichol (Mrs Patmore), Allen Leech (Branson) and Michael C. Fox (Andy). The programme also revisits some of the castle’s historical features, in particular the links between Highclere Castle owners, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, and the British Royal Family.
In a deal brokered by independent consultant Ronan Hand, Drive is distributing the show in all territories outside the US and will launch the project to international buyers at Mipcom in Cannes next month. The company is currently working with Peninsula Television to secure a number of international sales for the programme. The NBC documentary special is launching in the US this week to coincide with ‘Downton Abbey – The Movie’ hitting cinemas.
Lilla Hurst, Drive co-MD, said: “The incredible access that Peninsula Television has been given to Highclere Castle offers global broadcasters a huge opportunity to acquire an evergreen tribute to all things ‘Downton Abbey’. We are delighted to be working with Peninsula on this landmark programme.”
David Harvey, Executive Producer at Peninsula Television, said: “We are delighted Drive will be taking this extraordinary TV special to audiences around the world. With access to the principal cast and Lord and Lady Carnarvon, ‘Return to Downton Abbey’ will offer a real television treat as we go behind-the-scenes of ‘Downton Abbey’.”
Since its launch by co-founders Lilla Hurst and Ben Barrett 6 years ago, Drive has become a leader in securing sales, funding and providing consultancy for a portfolio of production company clients including Oxford Films, October Films, Blink, yap films, Raw TV, Back2Back Productions and Lightbox.