I confess that perhaps like you, I’m a great fan of TV detective dramas like Sherlock, Inspector Morse, Grantchester and Foyle’s War. Over the weekend I watched a very good Poirot and enjoyed the Cotswolds scenery in a Father Brown. When any of these shows appear on PBS, dozens of your customers stay at home, avidly following the twists and turns of the current plot.
To help you to harness the interest being fanned every week by every episode, do three things?
Firstly, compile a list of clients who are almost certain to be Masterpiece fans — it could cover a few pages! Secondly produce a (shorter) list of contacts you have with your local PBS, Friends of Libraries group, bookstores, readers circles and book fair organisers.
Finally, show them the following mix ‘n’ match selection of ideas and invite them to list their favourite TV detective shows. E-mail it to me and stand by for a creative response for just 2 people or a small group of 12-15.
I’ve also been putting together some tour itineraries based around the literary events for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
As you and your clients have spent Sunday evenings watching Masterpiece Theatre productions of Jane Austen’s novels, start planning a tour to the popular Jane Austen Festival, which returns to Bath from Friday 14th–Sunday 23rd September 2018. This year’s Festival will celebrate her novel Persuasion — much of which is set in the city — 200 years after its publication.
The Cheltenham Literature Festival has been building an international reputation for nearly 70 years and for lovers of fiction, culture and books, this literary celebration boasts one of the most remarkable line-ups of writing greats they are ever likely to see. The Guildford Book Festival also runs concurrently making this combination almost irresistible for some of your clients.
Remember, you’re an email away from turning popular fiction into profitable fact.
The Great Detectives
For clients who love Masterpiece Theatre Murder Mysteries, offer them a programme based on a pick ‘n’ mix selection of visits that might include a few quiet moments at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s grave, an Inspector Morse tour of Oxford, a day in and around various Midsomer villages, Agatha Raisin and Father Brown in the Cotswolds, a Sherlock Holmes day in London and a close encounter with Agatha Christie on the English Riviera.
Endeavour, Lewis and Morse
With Oxford less than 90 minutes north of Southampton and about the same from London, it makes a great hub for a customised pre/post cruise extension. It’s also famous as the location for the filming of Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. With touches of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders on the way, this idea is well worth a closer consideration.
The unflappable Inspector Barnaby is another notable addition to my list of Great Detectives and he’s the star of the corpse strewn TV series Midsomer Murders. Filmed extensively in the otherwise peaceful county of Buckinghamshire, just north of London, we can add an On Location tour of some of the real-life towns, villages and stately homes used in the show.
The Sport of Queens
Here’s an interesting Murder Mystery pre/post cruise idea for Harwich arrivals/departures. Based near the university city of Cambridge, it visits Grantchester, location for the eponymous and popular TV series and home of the inquisitive vicar Sydney Chambers. It also spends a day discovering Newmarket, the birthplace and home of horse racing and inspiration for so many of Dick Francis’ best-selling novels.
Quiche of Death
Agatha Raisin and Father Brown are two more popular TV characters, and both are closely associated with the Cotswolds. Chipping Campden, Broadway and Stow on the Wold clearly feature in MC Beaton’s popular novels and Father Brown is filmed in the village where she lives. Let’s turn much loved fiction into on location reality with visits to her favourite pubs, tea rooms and pubs.
Crusader, Monk, Detective
A few years ago, Masterpiece Theatre successfully screened Ellis Peter’s medieval mysteries about Brother Cadfael, the crusader turned herbalist monk detective who lived in the Welsh border county of Shropshire. Untouched by progress, step back in time and explore the castles, abbeys and picturesque villages and towns that capture his life and times. Use the Manchester gateway for easy access.
The Cheltenham Literature Festival
For lovers of fiction, culture and books, this literary celebration boasts one of the most remarkable line-ups of writing greats that you’re ever likely to see. Between 5th-14thOctober over 500 events, the Festival touches upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion and they bring together highly sought-after speakers creating stimulating, surprising, and entertaining events that ignite once-in-a-lifetime conversations.
Guildford Book Festival
Taking place at the same time (7th-14th October), for nearly 30 years the cathedral city of Guildford has played host to one of the UK’s most vibrant literary festivals. Attracting some of the biggest names, bestselling authors and bright new talent from around the world it offers outstanding star-studded, entertaining conversation in historic locations like the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.
If like me, Wolfgang Amadeus is your favourite classical composer, you’ll be pleased to know that the annual 16-concert Bath Mozartfest will take place between 9th-17thNovember. Firmly established as one of Europe’s leading classical music festivals, they have spent the last 26 years building an impressive reputation for excellence, presenting the finest classical music performed by world-renowned artists.
Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org