A lion and unicorn in the house of commons

Politics. Tamed.

Ever thought that the goings-on in the House of Commons sometimes resembles that of a noisy zoo? You're not alone. News UK's agency, Pulse Creative, approached Framestore Pictures' BAFTA-winning director William Bartlett to create a TV ad for The Times and The Sunday Times that plays on this very idea.

Animation Supervisor
Visual Effects Supervisor
a border terrier dog sitting on a dark green armchair

Drawing on his extensive experience in VFX supervision and technical know-how when it comes to pre-production problem solving (as well as Framestore’s impressive portfolio of CG animals) Bartlett was perfectly placed to work closely with Pulse Creative's Executive Creative Director Robin Garton to develop the treatment for and direct the 40 second film that sees the House of Commons populated not by politicians but by a host of wild animals.

‘To have the opportunity to direct a piece for such an iconic brand as The Times is a huge honour.’ says Bartlett. ‘Working collaboratively with Pulse Creative to craft and develop their idea and overcome a host of VFX challenges made this just about my dream job. At the forefront of my mind during the creative process were the questions of “What animals can we shoot?” and “what CG animals could we bring into play?”’, he continues.

animals in parliament having a conference

‘We built a previz to shape the script and during that process we experimented with new ideas such as having rats scurrying off, sheep filing into rank and hyenas laughing on the back benches. It was a fluid way of developing the script while also crafting an edit that is fun to watch and that culminates in the arrival of the lion and white unicorn from The Times and The Sunday Times’ iconic masthead.’

To better understand the inner workings of the Commons Chamber, Bartlett went on a tour of the Houses of Parliament in the early stages of pre-production. With the commercial’s edit meticulously mapped out and previsualised, Bartlett tasked Framestore to build the wood-panelled Commons Chamber, complete with speaker’s chair, in 3D using photographic reference material from a number of sources. Building the Commons Chamber entirely in 3D allowed for complete freedom of camera moves and easy reframing of background plates.

close up shot of a goat in parliament. there are lots of animals beside it and in the other rows behind

Framestore’s Design team animated The Times and The Sunday Times’ masthead with its illustrated lion and unicorn – a crucial graphic device at the end of the film that reinforces the creative idea that The Times and The Sunday Times gets to the heart of Parliamentary debate, bringing order to what can often seem like chaos.

Robin Garton, Executive Creative Director, Pulse Creative says: ‘In WWII, Will would have been in Bletchley Park cracking the enigma code – he has that rare combination of a creative and a mathematical mind. So on top of his unrivalled technical ability is a conceptual intuition that was invaluable in making this film. Along with that, he is dedicated, collaborative, calm, confident, passionate but not pushy – and a load of other qualities that make him a pleasure to work with. I am properly happy with the end result on this but, I guess, a little sad that we’ve come to the end of it.’


Pulse Creative
Production Company
Framestore Pictures
Polly DuPlessis
Art Director
Nick Ellis
Thom Hole
Executive Producer
Helen Hughes
Senior VFX Producer
Josh King
Head of 2D
Suzanne Jandu
Lead Comp
Christian Baker
Lead CG
David Watson
Lead Modeller and Head of Modelling
Adam Smith
Modelling & Texturing
Mariam Ferrer, Michael John, Omar Jason, Alice Roseberry-Haynes, Alex Doyle, Florence Green
Creature Animation
Jed Fisher, Emma Ewing
Lee Matthews
Paint & Roto
Grzegorz Zolnowski, Thomas Greenhalgh
Simon Stoney, Reece McFarlane, Esme Coleman, Andy Hunwick, Richard Baillie, Robert Evans
Artwork Animation
David Lockhead
David Cattermole
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