Debut ITV campaign by Uncommon muses on nature of compelling characters

Initial two films feature Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday from Endeavour and Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope from Vera.

Uncommon Creative Studio has launched its debut work for ITV with a pair of films starring popular ITV actors, in their familiar environments, contemplating the power of a great character.

The campaign, "Great characters make great drama", was directed by James Marsh through Pulse Films. Marsh has directed movies including Man on Wire, The Theory of Everything, Project Nim and Shadow Dancer. The media agency is Goodstuff Communications.

The first spot, "The patriarch", features Roger Allam in his role as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday from Endeavour, the prequel to Inspector Morse. It opens with Allam’s character in a battle-strewn woodland scene, carrying a pistol and next to a burning car.

As he moves through the woodland, shooting an assailant down from a rooftop and dodging attackers, he speaks in abstract terms about the kind of character he is: "I’m the patriarch. The grey hair. The one who’s seen things, done things. The old man you had a feeling for from the off. You will love me: I remind you of your own dad; or the one you wish he’d been."

The second ad, "The guvnor", stars Brenda Blethyn as the eponymous detective chief inspector from Vera. Blethyn is shown walking along a beach to a crime scene while talking about how her character defies expectations.

The films will air in cinemas, digital platforms and on TV – including Channel 4 and Sky channels – from this week, with radio executions following the next month. More spots with other ITV characters are planned later in the year.

Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon, said: "As a genre, drama uniquely compels; through powerful characters we become hooked, craving our immediate next fix.

"Think about your favourite characters. Or the ones that stick with you. Often these characters play out a recognisable archetype, even if we don’t realise it, they sit behind many of the dramas we watch. Reminding us of the people we love, the people we hate and sometimes even ourselves. These characters live beyond the screen, emphasising the power great TV can have. This work is about provoking people to look again at ITV."

Rufus Radcliffe, chief marketing officer at ITV, added: "To continue to attract both our loyal audiences who helped us post record share figures in 2018, and also attract and encourage light ITV viewers to come in to the channel more often, we want to make sure our marketing and branding reflects the creativity and energy at the heart of our business and demonstrates the emotional power of our content."

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