Publishers press on with Downton trend

Publishers press on with Downton trend

Butlers and ballgowns are back this autumn, with the third season of ITV's period drama hit "Downton Abbey" coming in September, and publishers following suit with related titles.

Collins will publish the official "Downton Abbey" tie-ins, Downton Abbey—The Complete Scripts: Season One (£14.99, pb, 30th August), and The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis (£20, hb, 13th September). The scripts include previously unseen dialogue and an introduction from series' writer Julian Fellowes, while Chronicles takes each character, from Lady Mary Crawley to Bates, and examines their personalities and backgrounds.

Collins marketing manager Tim Broughton said the books "bridge the gap" between the TV series, which run for about three months each year, and the other nine months, keeping fans satisfied. The popularity of the Christmas Day special ensures a long tail into New Year promotions, he added.

Meanwhile, Virgin Books is releasing Bright Young Things: Real Lives in the Roaring Twenties by Alison Maloney as a £9.99 B-format hardback on 30th August, with editorial director Kate Moore calling it "a very gifty product, it fits nicely into the popular history genre".

Moore put the popularity of the show down to "that escapism; we love seeing a different era on screen—the dressing for dinner, and they had different life concerns". She said the Virgin title will focus "not just on dukes and duchesses" but also on groups such as the Mayfair set and writers in Paris, with chapters on parties, cocktails, and the contrasts between "upstairs, downstairs". The cover is designed to be eye-catching, with gold elements, and with bespoke illustrations throughout the book to increase its gift factor.

Meanwhile, Constable & Robinson is publishing Private Life in Britain's Stately Homes: Masters and Servants in Early Twentieth Century Britain by Michael Paterson (£8.99, B-format pb, Sept), with Paterson exploring the myths and realities of Britain's largest houses. The book features the property where "Downton Abbey" was filmed, Highclere Castle, on the front cover.

On 1st November, Viking is publishing The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery by Catherine Bailey, which is said to incorporate the Downton theme of mystery within the highest echelons of society. The book tells the true story of the death of the Duke of Rutland in April 1940 at Belvoir Castle, unpicking a tragic story that takes place on the battlefields of the Western Front and within London high society.