IT’S one of the most popular programmes on TV – and now there’s a game to go with it, thanks to a Portsmouth entrepreneur.
Destination Downton is the creation of Rachel Lowe, who started building a board game empire as a student.
And she says her achievement is down to the support of the city.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Drayton, said: ‘It’s really exciting,’ Rachel said.
‘It’s an amazing series. It’s brilliant and I love it.’
Rachel approached the production company behind the smash hit show at a trade fair and pitched the idea to them.
They loved it, and now, a year later, it’s available to buy.
Starting in the servants’ hall, each player in the game is dealt Destination cards which have varying values relating to how important or difficult the task is.
‘The player must navigate their way around the corridors and stairs of the abbey.
‘It is being manufactured by the same people who make Monopoly so it will be very high quality,’ she said.
Rachel hopes the game will also take off in the USA, where she says the show is ‘huge’.
Rachel said: ‘An American distribution company will be supplying the board game to the USA and Canadian markets in 2014.’
She came up with the idea for the Destination board game when she was a taxi driver while studying at the University of Portsmouth.
Ten years on, after ‘crying in the taxi home’ following an unsuccessful appearance on the first series of Dragons’ Den, Rachel has produced Destination Downton Abbey in time for Christmas.
‘Destination Portsmouth was the first game that I created,’ she said. ‘Portsmouth was definitely where it all began for lots of different reasons.
‘It was sponsors in Portsmouth that helped me get it off the ground.
‘Then I took it to Port Solent and Gunwharf Quays to sell. The city has helped me to get it off the ground.
‘Without that money I could not have got it going. The people of Portsmouth have been really supportive.’
Despite the successes of the Destination games, Rachel’s company was forced to go into administration in 2008.
‘When I was in a dark place, the The News was supportive of covering the story. I had so much support from people here in Portsmouth telling me not to give up.
‘Portsmouth Football Club has the best fan base.
‘The way that they give their support to people – that is how it is in Portsmouth. I was supposed when I went through the good stuff and the hard time. I did not give up.’
But the Destination brand was brought back in 2011 and she is now working on a game for one of her favourite television programmes.
Destination Downton Abbey became available to order in time for Christmas on Amazon yesterday.
Downton Abbey latest addition to Destination brand
BUSINESSWOMAN Rachel Lowe built her board game empire from the ground as a taxi driver in Portsmouth.
As a student, Rachel paid for her studies with part-time work. It was while she was driving her fares around the city she came up with the money-making idea for Destination Portsmouth.
She has since created games based on other cities in the UK, along with New York, Paris and Dublin.
A deal with Warner Brothers saw her gain a contract for make a special Hogwards Harry Potter edition and made an official London 2012 Olympic Games Destination edition of her game.