Carnivale Films, the production company that devised and produce the show, was bought by NBCUniversal in 2008, and although they’ve been a little slow to capitalize on Downton’s success, branded merchandise is due to be launched this year. Garath Neame, Carnival Film’s marketing director and the show’s executive producer, recently revealed to CNBC, “We’ll be working across an entire range of products coming out this year. From fashion, apparel and homeware, and furniture to wallpapers, beauty products, and stationary.” We wonder whether the clothing items available will be replicas of some of the looks seen on the show, or simply outfits inspired by the era?
Given Downton’s astonishing success, why the long wait? According to Neame, “It’s a very slow burn the moment you get into retail, it’s extremely cautious, it has to test the established brand… No one wants to launch products if the show’s going to be a flop.” He elaborated by describing the show’s trajectory from a retail standpoint: “In retail terms, the first series launched the program and the brand, the second year ratified it, and the show didn’t even hit its high point in the U.S. until this year when series three ended… It’s very rare for a British drama to have this much retail potential and merchandizing value.”
For the record, you can also visit Highclere Castle, the stately home where Downton Abbey is shot, in person, as well as hold weddings and events on the grounds. Perhaps unsurprisingly they’re already sold out of pre-bookable tickets for the Summer 2013 season; they do, however, have a certain amount of walk-up tickets available each day, so you can always try your luck if you happen to be in the neighborhood (and if you are, we really, REALLY envy you).
Tell us: How do you feel about official Downton Abbey gear?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.