Jim Fiscus on photographing star-studded British TV campaign promoting the highly anticipated fall season

ITV’s programming features some of British television’s most beloved actors, and those stars are at the center of the network’s major ad push to promote the fall season. Jim Fiscus shot the print component of the campaign, working on location in a suitably evocative room in a rambling English house built in the 1700s.
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Jim Fiscus_ITV

Photo by Jim Fiscus. From left: Katherine Kelly of “Mr. Selfridge,” Jane Froggatt of “Downton Abbey,” Jeremy Piven of “Mr. Selfridge,” Brenda Blethyn of “Vera,” Martin Clunes of “Doc Martin,” Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey,” and Rupert Penry-Jones of “Whitechapel.”

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The print shoot was spread over a week to coincide with the actors’ schedules. Jim’s challenge was to plan out a rectangular composition and each person’s placement within it, but to shoot the actors one by one as they were available.

“Each person came in and stood in their designated spot to be photographed. I had already customized the lighting to work across the rectangle,” he explains. “There were no digital tricks. Each person was a simplified layer in the final image.”

The shoots went swiftly—usually no more than a few minutes each. When Jim shot Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville on the first day, for example, he fired off 22 frames in around 30 seconds and got what he needed. It helped that many of the actors already knew Jim, who has been one of Channel 4’s go-to key-art photographers.

Jim also managed to squeeze in some quick portrait sittings for his portfolio, including one of Jim Carter, who plays buttoned-up butler Carson on Downton Abbey. The funny thing is Carter wasn’t part of this ITV shoot—he was in another room, dressed in character, doing on-air promotion for Downton and walked through a door that happened to lead into Jim’s set. Jim took the opportunity to photograph him. Here’s a look…

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Jim Fiscus_Brenda Blethyn

Brenda Blethyn, star of the detective drama “Vera.” Photo by Jim Fiscus.

Jim Fiscus_Jim Carter

Jim Carter, who plays Carson on “Downton Abbey.” Photo by Jim Fiscus.

Jim Fiscus_Kate Kelly

Katherine Kelly, who costars in “Mr. Selfridge,” a series about famed department store Selfridges. Photo by Jim Fiscus.

Jim Fiscus_Martin Clunes

Martin Clunes, who plays the title role in the medical comedy-drama “Doc Martin.” Photo by Jim Fiscus.

Jim Fiscus_Rupert Penry-Jones

Rupert Penry-Jones, star of the detective series “Whitechapel.” Photo by Jim Fiscus.

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