The cell doors swing open on Hotel Alcatraz as UKTV Watch becomes a client

So we’ve been working with the team at UKTV to help them promote their latest blockbuster, Alcatraz. Making its UK debut on Watch, the new series is a return to the small screen for J.J. Abrams, last seen on telly with Lost and with a host of great productions for the big screen under his belt in between.

The schtick is that in 1963, Alcatraz supposedly closed, its inmates shipped off the island and sent elsewhere. However, fast forward to the present day and it turns out that the prisoners are re-appearing in their cells. And that they would all appear to have aged not a jot since they were last seen.

At that point, a team of investigators set forth to seek the 302 former inmates out and to put them back where they belong.

To mark the launch of the series, we thought that we’d keep it simple.

So we launched Hotel Alcatraz.

A four room (or should that be cell) hotel in central London in which “guests” can experience Alcatraz as it was when it closed in 1963. We’ve been creating authentic cells, a remarkable replica reception area where there is a check-in (and where getting your mug shot done is all part of that process). We’ve even created a replica routine for prisoners’ stays – from tailoring to building work, a trip to the exercise courtyard, you name it.

To date, we’ve seen lovely pieces from the Daily Telegraph, Time Out, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Five Live, VICE Magazine, Independent (with more to come) – and pieces a series of bloggers who went in and stayed in the pre-launch week to be able to write up the experience.

We’re still working the media more, but the signs are broadly positive for some cracking coverage for our little creation. It’s been mental. But it looks like the madness was worth it.

Here it is being made …