Belfast Telegraph

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Adverts make Abbey a real turn-off

By Jane Graham

Itv has not enjoyed a proud reputation for serious drama for a long time, and I've made plenty of jokes at its expense regarding the general rubbishness of many of its attempts to compete with the BBC and Channel Four in that arena.

So I was impressed with the foresight it showed when it acquired Julian Fellowes' Downton Abbey and had to admit that the product was of unarguably high quality.

However, like many others, I'm beginning to wonder if the ITV bigwigs have any real understanding or even interest in the integrity of the work. I know adverts are unavoidable on the channel - but 18 minutes of story-breaking, screamingly loud, dumb-ass commercials per 75-minute episode? Five-minute ad breaks before a three-minute slice of dramatic finale? I'm guessing Fellowes is gnawing his knuckles in frustration, alongside the hundreds of thousands who have already stopped watching.

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