Posted 09 September 2011 - 12:15 am
"Let's wait and see how minor/major any inaccuracies are. I vaguely recall that the makers of "All the King's Men", the David Jason TV drama about Sandringham workers at Gallipoli, wanted to feature conscientious objectors until the experts pointed out that conscription hadn't been introduced."
I certainly did advise but the job title is hysterical advisor, not enforcer. The decision to include the "conchie" (he is in the final edit) was a creative one and, although August 1915 pre-dates conscription, plenty of people were given a hard time for being opposed to the war. As a piece of drama (and ATKM never pretended to be anything else) it brought the story of the Gallipoli campaign to millions of people who had never heard of it and, to be totally honest, the true story of the Battalion was pretty dull and would never have been made into a drama without a fantasy woven into it. As an aside, several of the production team for Downton were people I had last worked with on All The King's Men.
We have worked on the trench scenes for Downton Abbey and I am very happy with all the footage I have seen so far. We were not responsible for dressing the principal cast members but all the background guys are down to us and we helped to create some great scenes for them. Likewise, all the non-trench scenes were shot elsewhere and, apart from helping with some historical advice and answering questions from the Art Department, we had no input into the them so I can't comment on them.
Downton was a real pleasure to work on and everyone was keen to make it as accurate as possible, albeit within its drama remit. Many Great War cliches have been avoided in the bits we were involved with and they were happy to listen to advice on when the battle scenes should be set which was very refreshing.
No matter how hard we try there will always be things which will slip through the net but I hope that most of you will enjoy it for what it is - a piece of great Sunday evening entertainment.
PS: "Thats a bit unfair - you can have the best advisor in the world for any given subject, but if the head honcho really insists on, say steel helmets in a 1914 scenario "to better illustrate the inhumanity of war" or some-such nonsense then there really isn't a lot the expert can do."
Actually Andrew, I would hope that even those of us who are not "the best advisor in the world" would tell them where to stick their production if they wanted to do stuff like that!