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Consultancy in Action: Working as a historical advisor to a TV production

In this video, Dr Rebecca Usherwood from TCD’s Department of Classics shares her experience of working as an academic consultant. She describes applying her knowledge about Ancient Rome to advise on a historical TV drama by UK production company Fifty Fathoms. The production team comes under the umbrella of Endemol Shine, which is responsible for hit shows Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders.

Dr Usherwood, whose research focuses on the political and cultural history of the Roman and later Roman Empire, has been working with CONSULT Trinity in acting as an academic consultant to the production team. She has been advising on how to include realistic and accurate historical detail and context in scripts, costumes, and set design among other things. The show, entitled Domina, has been created alongside Italian studios Cattleya. Filming in Italy had to shut down in March due to COVID-19, but has now restarted, and Dr Usherwood works with them remotely as she continues her research and teaching here at Trinity College Dublin. 

According to Dr Usherwood, the consultancy engagement lets her apply her academic knowledge and use her problem-solving skills, with the goal of creating “a compelling story for the audience.”