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Drama reveal the real Mr Darcy

Posted on February 9th, 2017 in Book PR,Television PR.

Leading academics reveal how the Pride and Prejudice heartthrob would have really looked… and he’s no Colin Firth

The mission to discover the real Mr Darcy was commissioned by TV channel Drama to celebrate Jane Austen Season, which starts on Sunday 12th February. 


 A new, historically accurate portrait of the most admired and revered romantic leading man in literary history, Fitzwilliam Darcy, has been unveiled for the first time, following new research by leading academics.

 The new portraits paint a very different picture of the literary heartthrob when compared to modern day TV depictions, portrayed by Hollywood actors such as Colin Firth, Elliot Cowan and Matthew MacFadyen.

Instead of tall, dark and handsome, research reveals that Jane Austen’s fictional character, Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, would have been pale with powdered white hair. He would also have had a long nose, sloping shoulders and pointy chin – a far cry from muscular modern day TV representations.


The mission to discover the real Mr Darcy was commissioned by TV channel Drama to celebrate Jane Austen Season, which starts on Sunday 12th February.

The study, The Real Mr Darcy – a dramatic re-appraisal carried out by John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at University College London and Amanda Vickery, Professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London, highlights how the qualities considered attractive have dramatically changed over the past two centuries.

The academics conducted a month-long study, investigating Austen’s personal life and relationships, drawing conclusions on who may have been the inspiration for Mr Darcy. Researchers looked into the existing descriptions and illustrations of the character, along with the socio-economic and cultural factors that would contribute to Darcy’s background, appearance and lifestyle.

 Key findings of the research reveal the real Mr Darcy would have had:

  • Powered mid-length white hair
  • A long oval face with a small mouth, pointy chin and long nose
  • Pale complexion – pink and white skin
  • Slender sloping shoulders and modest chest
  • Large quads, thighs and calves
  • A height of 5ft 11” (in comparison to Colin Firth’s 6ft 2” and the 6ft 3” Matthew MacFadyen)

Leading artist Nick Hardcastle took the academic research and brought the descriptions to life in a series of unique illustrations.

 The Real Mr Darcy – a dramatic re-appraisal study revealed that Mr Darcy’s white powdered hair is reflective of the norms of the Austen era, with mid-length hair favoured over the shorter crop of today. The illustrations highlight Darcy’s pale complexion, a sign of wealth and privilege, and his long oval face shape. In the late 1790s, square jaws were practically unheard of amongst the upper classes, with the pointy chin and small mouth evident on Mr Darcy very common features of the gentlemen of the era.

Strong legs were an attractive and important feature to females of the time, with well-modelled thighs a sign of virility, a good fencer and horseman. The real Mr Darcy would also have been akin to many of the landed gentry of the time, with slim sloping shoulders. A muscular chest and broad shoulders was the sign of a labourer, not a gentleman. 

Jane Austen’s romances have been well researched and documented over the centuries and it is believed that it was the 1st Earl of Morley John Parker, who was the inspiration for Mr Darcy. She also had a rumoured romance with Thomas Lefroy and it is likely he too provided inspiration for the character. Both men sported powdered hair and had long youthful faces with pale complexions. Other noblemen at the time, including Horatio Nelson, Leveson Gower and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, all also had similar features and were considered the pin-ups and sex symbols of their time.

Professor John Sutherland says, “There are only scraps of physical description of Fitzwilliam Darcy to be found in Pride and Prejudice; he is our most mysterious and desirable leading man of all time. What’s fantastic about Jane Austen’s writing is that Mr Darcy is both of the era and timeless. Our research for TV channel Drama’s ‘Jane Austen Season’ shows how Austen herself envisioned Mr Darcy, however the literature leaves space for the reader’s imagination to create their own Darcy and bring their own fantasies to the storyline.”

Professor Amanda Vickery says, “Mr Darcy is an iconic literary character, renowned for his good looks, charm and mystery. As Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in the 1790s, our Mr Darcy portrayal reflects the male physique and common features at the time. Men sported powdered hair, had narrow jaws and muscular, defined legs were considered very attractive. A stark contrast to the chiselled, dark, brooding Colin Firth portrayal we associate the character with today.

“Drama’s The Real Mr Darcy – a dramatic re-appraisal study reveals that in recent times, Darcy’s character has been sexed up for the modern day audience with a turbo-charged injection of testosterone and steamy romance.”

Adrian Wills, General Manager of Drama says, “It’s incredible to finally see how Jane Austen may have actually been envisioning her Mr Darcy when she wrote Pride and Prejudice. Drama viewers will have loved the handsome and brooding portrayals of Mr Darcy by some of their favourite actors, so we are delighted to offer up another in time for Valentine’s Day. These illustrations might lead to a slightly different imagining of one of the most famous romantic heroes of all time”

TV channel Drama’s Jane Austen Season, from midday every Sunday from the 12th February until the 19th March. The season includes Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Mansfield Park.  

 Jane Austen Season starts for Valentine’s Day on Sunday 12 February at midday on Drama and available to catch up on UKTV Play

For further details and to read the full research paper, please visit:

Mr Men and Little Miss become the new face of Royal Mail stamps

Posted on October 20th, 2016 in Book PR,Children's Brands PR,Kids PR,Retail PR,Stunt Of The Day.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men, The Royal Mail have commissioned sets of collectible stamps displaying all your favourite characters from the series, including Mr Bump, Little Miss Sunshine and Mr Tickle.

Since 1971, the Mr Men and Little Miss series have sold over 100 million copies in 28 countries and are sure to be the ideal nostalgic companion for Royal Mail users. Roger Hargreaves’ son Adam, who took over the business after his father’s death in 1988, commented that his father ‘would be chuffed’ at the news and they hope that the stamps will ‘brighten up sending and receiving mail’.

Mr Men

At 64p per stamp or £6.40 for the full set, full sell-out is expected quickly. The stamps will go on sale in Post Office branches nationwide and via the Royal Mail website for the next 12 months.

– @turnthq

Beatrix Potter characters reimagined in modern miniature

Posted on June 4th, 2016 in Book PR,branded content,PR Stunt,PR Stunts,publicity stunt agency,Publicity Stunts,Toy PR.

Six miniature sculptures of Beatrix Potter characters, updated for the 21st century, have been unveiled in locations across London in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the author’s birth.

Peter Rabbit™, Mr. Jeremy Fisher™, Jemima Puddle-Duck™, Squirrel Nutkin™, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle™ and Mrs. Tittlemouse™ were all given modern makeovers by renowned street artist Marcus Crocker and captured on film at sites including the Southbank, Westminster Bridge, St. James’ Park and Bond Street in the early hours of this morning.


The tiny tributes, each of which took over 140 painstaking hours to create from start to finish, were specially commissioned by Penguin Random House to mark the milestone year. Each measures just 17cm or less high, with an average weight of 200 grams.


The reimagined small versions of the familiar characters reflect the diminutive dimensions of the original Peter Rabbit stories, whilst some also contain a nod to Beatrix Potter’s varied accomplishments as a Conservationist; Botanist; Businesswoman; Artist; Storyteller all of which made her a woman ahead of her time.  The anniversary year will celebrate all of these themes throughout 2016.

The figures were carefully crafted to ensure continuity with not only the characters’ own personality traits, but in some cases those of their original creator, in contemporary and surprising ways.

Crocker and the wider team began by brainstorming ideas, re-familiarising themselves with the original Tales of Beatrix Potter and thoroughly researching animal anatomy, exactly as Beatrix would have done, before sketching different levels of design from concept to final versions.

Each sculpt began with a wire armature base, before the main structure was created with air-drying clay through many intricate layers of sculpting and drying – a process which allowed for a high level of detail and accuracy. The figures were sealed and strengthened with waterproof wood glue throughout these stages, before being finished with acrylic paint.

Head of Licensing and Consumer Products at Penguin UK Susan Bolsover said: “In this milestone year we really wanted to do something unexpected to celebrate Beatrix Potter’s extraordinary legacy, and updating the narrative behind these iconic creations allowed us to produce a truly surprising result. Marcus has shown an extraordinary level of attention to detail, love and care when creating his small charges and we hope the public enjoy this interpretation of how the characters might have evolved throughout their adventures.”

Artist Marcus Crocker said: “Understanding the anatomy of each animal was very important to me – Beatrix Potter felt the same. Balancing this desire for accuracy against making sure each figure remained true to her work was a huge challenge, but a thoroughly enjoyable one, and I hope everyone enjoys the result.”

The figures will go on display at Waterstones Piccadilly for the month of July. To find out more about Beatrix Potter visit

Peter Rabbit has taken to Twitter to narrate his #littleadventure, having escaped his Lake District burrow and travelled down to London by train. Follow his story @beatrixpotter on Twitter and see how the adventure unfolds.

The Man with the Golden Typewriter

Posted on November 4th, 2015 in Arts PR,Book PR,Charity PR,Digital PR,Radio PR,Taylor Herring PR,Technology PR.

The story of James Bond is one that has captivated the world for years. The international spy, renowned ladies man and connoisseur of the classic Martini has wowed audiences and set pulses racing in a body of work that has spanned countries, actors and generations. Behind it all, though, remains one man; Ian Fleming.

Audible- Julian Rhind-Tutt (2)

The acclaimed author’s work has inspired millions and today Audible, the audiobook company, have released The Man with the Golden Typewriter; a fascinating look behind the scenes of the great man’s life, as told by him.

This audiobook, narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing, Black Books, The Devil You Know), is a detailed collection of letters written from Fleming’s famous golden typewriter to all manner of people. From fans to his wife, critics to publishers these letters chronicle the development of the 007 story in a fascinating, often funny, but always human way.

This book is available for free when you sign up to Audible UK. 

How to spot whodunnit: academics crack Agatha Christie’s code

Posted on August 3rd, 2015 in Book PR,creative publicity,PR Stunt,Publicity Stunts,Television PR.

NEWS! On the 125th Anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth, scientists reveal the key clues behind the world’s best-selling novelist

  • Panel of experts reveal the secret to Agatha Christie – the world’s best-selling novelist’s success
  • Greatest mystery in fiction solved – how to spot ‘whodunnit’
  • Where the novel is set, the primary means of transport used throughout the book and how the victim dies, are all key factors that give away who the killer is
  • New research released today was commissioned by TV channel Drama to celebrate their Agatha Christie Hour, weekdays at 8pm, 3rd – 14th August


As Agatha Christie fans across the world celebrate the 125th anniversary of the best-selling author’s birth, new research reveals the formula for her incredible success and crucially – how to spot whodunnit!

The research, commissioned by UKTV channel Drama for their Agatha Christie Hour at 8pm, weekdays from 3rd – 14th August, tasked a panel of experts including Dr. James Bernthal from the University of Exeter; Dr. Dominique Jeannerod, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queens University; and data analyst Brett Jacob, with analysing a selection of Christie’s top selling mystery novels** to discover the secret to her success and the ultimate formula for predicting who the killer is.


Key Findings:

  • The killer will be introduced within the first half of the book
  • The killer is likely to be emotionally involved with the victim, most killers are spouses or blood relatives of their victim
  • If there are a lot of land vehicles in the story, the killer is most likely female
  • If there are a lot of nautical vehicles and aircraft in the story, the killer is most likely male
  • If the victim is strangled, the killer is most likely male (or male with a female accomplice)
  • If the setting is a country house, the killer is most likely female (75% chance)
  • The language used throughout the book to describe a female killer is usually more negative than when describing a male killer
  • Female killers are normally discovered due to a domestic item
  • Male killers are normally found out through information or logic
  • If Poirot is the detective, and the cause of death is stabbing, the killer will be mentioned more frequently at the beginning of the book
  • If Miss Marple is the detective, and the motive for the murder is money/affair, the killer will be mentioned more in the later stages of the novel than the beginning.

Adrian Wills, General Manager for Drama said “Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, so the television adaptations of her books are hugely popular.  To mark the 125th anniversary of her birth, the Drama channel decided to pull together 10 nights of some of her most famous stories in the Agatha Christie Hour, weeknights at 8pm from August 3rd. Given her on-going popularity, we wanted to know her formula for success, especially since the whodunit is such a classic of the crime drama genre.  We hope that her legions of dedicated fans will revisit their favourite whodunits with a better understanding of how to crack the ultimate code.”

Christie’s Work:

The study found that Christie features similarities in language style, word length and sentence length across her works. According to a team of researchers lead by Dr Jeannerod, a key element of Christie’s writing style is to keep it simple; using middle-range language and repeating it. In fact, according to research, the most used word in Christie’s novels is ‘said’.

Jeannerod’s team also found that the structure of a Christie novel can be simplified down to a list of key events: the body will be found early on; a closed group of suspects (achieved either by remote location or the confines of a social group) will be presented to the reader; the detective will then be introduced and a series of red herrings will follow; and finally, after the outcome, the solution will wrap up the story quickly and efficiently, leaving the reader satisfied.

The Main Clue:

As any mystery novel goes, the reader is subjected to the occasional red herring. Clues need to offer the reader an experience that satisfies expectations whilst avoiding disappointing predictability. According to Dr. Bernthal, Christie’s novels tend to include a “main clue” which is revealed “approximately half way through the text” and “it will usually be highlighted as it appears in the text,” so the reader is likely to remember it.

However, according to Bernthal, even if the main clue is easily missed or consciously skimmed over by the author, with Christie’s work, because the “the reader already remembers the clue, this creates an impression of fair play,” so the reader doesn’t feel cheated by the addition of a random detail they could never have spotted. He also reveals that Christie’s female killers tend to be given away by domestic items whilst the male killers are discovered by information or logic.

Working out the Formula:

Relationship to the victim (=)

Dr. Bernthal’s research highlighted that the killer is likely to be emotionally involved with the victim; the most common relationship being a spouse or relative. Furthermore, if the killer’s victim is their spouse, the most probable motive will be love, whereas murders committed by blood relations are more varied in motive.

Primary means of transport associated with the novel (=)

According to Dr Jeannerod’s team, the novels which include a female killer are more likely to feature land vehicles (such as cars, vans, trucks), whereas novels with a male killer are more likely to involve nautical vehicles and aircraft (such as boats and planes).

The sentiment of the language used in association with the killer (=)

By using a sentiment analysis program called “Semantria”, Dr Jeannerod’s team found that in general, Christie uses more negative language to describe her female killers, whereas with male killers, she uses “higher levels of neutral or positive sentiment”. It was also found that in her later novels, Christie portrays her culprits in an overall more negative light.

Method of murder and the detective characterized in the novel (=)

Jeannerod’s team also found that if the victim is strangled, the killer is more likely to be male (or male with a female accomplice) and that there is a correlation between the killer being a doctor and the victim dying from either stabbing or strangulation. The results also suggest that if Poirot is the featured detective, and the cause of death is stabbing, it is extremely probable that the killer will be mentioned more frequently at the beginning of the book rather than in the concluding chapters. However, if the detective is Miss Marple, and the motive for the murder is money/affair, “the culprit will be mentioned more in the later stages of the novel than the beginning.”

Setting for the novel (=)

Dr. Bernthal’s research revealed that if the setting is a country house, there is a 75% chance that the killer will be female.

Chapter of introduction of the killer (=)

Bernthal also discovered that the murderer will be introduced within the first half of the novel, and almost always within the first 20% of the book.

Number of mentions of the killer ()

Furthermore, the later the book was published, the more the murderer will be mentioned throughout the novel according to Dr Jeannerod’s team. In fact, it was found that on average the culprit had 11.7 new mentions with every new novel. The findings also reveal that “there is a 27% chance that the culprit will be mentioned most in the first quarter of the novel, a 36.5% chance for the second quarter, an 18.5% chance in the third quarter, and an 18% chance for the fourth quarter.”

Agatha Christie Hour will air on TV channel Drama at 8pm, weekdays from 3rd – 14th August



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