Focus Features Launches 'Reel Destinations' Webseries With A 'Downton Abbey'-Themed Debut Episode

If you've ever wanted to visit filming locations from some of your favorite movies but just haven't been able to make the trip, Focus Features has a new webseries that lets you vicariously live out your travel dreams. It's called Reel Destinations, and in its first episode, host Alicia Malone takes audiences inside the real castle that serves as the primary location on the PBS TV series Downton Abbey and Focus's upcoming movie which continues the story. Check it out below.

Reel Destinations

Here's the official description of the new webseries:

Reel Destinations explores the areas highlighted by Focus Features films and how locations can be just as much a character in a movie as the actors. Created documentary-style, this hosted "travelogue" sends a small crew to a new location in each episode. We ask locals questions, direct viewers to points of interest, and feature never-before-seen B-roll captured during production of the films to give audiences a special look at each location.

Our premiere episode, brought to you by VisitBritain, features the amazing locations of the motion picture event Downton Abbey.  Guided by our host Alicia Malone (TCM), we visit the enchanting Highclere Castle, the country town of Bampton, and an Art Deco pub—all of which are featured in the film.

You may recognize Alicia Malone from her work as a host on Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Channel, her appearances on NPR, CNN, and Fandango, or listened to her podcast Magnificent Obsession, in which she talks to all sorts of people in and around the film industry. She's also written two books about women and film: 2017's Backwards and In Heels, and 2018's The Female Gaze.

One of the things that keeps me watching more than 30 seconds of any travel video is the personality of the person hosting it. Most people are truly awful at it (there's so much abysmal stuff on YouTube), but thankfully, Malone has had plenty of practice appearing on camera, so she's always polished, professional, and knowledgeable. Am I jealous that she gets to travel the world visiting film locations for work? Of course! But she and the Reel Destinations production team are actually good at this, so I can't be too upset. (I've done my own version of this concept a couple times for /Film, visiting Belfast's Titanic Museum, some of the filming spots for the Tolkien biopic, and several Game of Thrones locations, including the original Winterfell.)

Future episodes of Reel Destinations will include a visit to the Berkeley Plantation to celebrate the release of the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet, as well as an episode devoted to London that features exteriors from Atonement, Darkest HourShaun of the Dead, and Phantom Thread.