Carnival Films, company behind Downton Abbey, sets up drama development initiative for budding writers

After seeing success in so many of its drama projects, Carnival Films has set up an initiative to train budding writers in drama development


                            Carnival Films, company behind Downton Abbey, sets up drama development initiative for budding writers

Carnival Films, a division of NBCUniversal International Studios, has made quite a name for itself as one of the United Kingdom's premier drama specialists, boasting of the likes of 'Downton Abbey,' 'Poirot,' 'Hotel Babylon,' and 'Whitechapel' in its CV. The company is now looking to encourage and hone the talents of up-and-coming writers through an initiative that will hopefully aid the creation of new dramas. The first attendees for the program have been announced, with it kicking off with six writers who each boast of experience from having worked in previous projects. 

According to Variety, Jo Strevens, the head of development for Carvial, will be overseeing the initiative, called the 'Collective,' with development producer, Tara Cook, and development executive, Claire Daxter, and will see Grace Ofori-Attah (In the Long Run), Ben Lewis (Psychobites), Roanne Bardsley (Hollyoaks), James Fritz (Parliament Square) and duo Matilda Wnek and Ryan O' Sullivan (Other People) looking to fine-tune their talent.

Carnival, the company behind 'Downton Abbey,' has set up a program for budding writers (Source: IMDb)
Carnival, the company behind 'Downton Abbey,' has set up a program for budding writers (Source: IMDb)

The program will involve the production company training and guiding the six writers in working up new projects in response to briefs from broadcasters. In a statement explaining the intent of the initiative, the company said: "Carnival aims to create a fresh development slate with the Collective talent, in direct response to broadcaster needs."

Gareth Neame, the executive chairman of Carnival Films, similarly said: "We are always seeking to expand our horizons in terms of the best writing talent, and take our responsibility to nurture talent very seriously. 'Collective' is a great way of doing just that and we’re delighted to be working with some of the most exciting, emerging creative voices coming out of the UK today."

Ofori-Attah expressed her excitement at the prospect of working alongside some of her talented peers. "Having the opportunity to sit down and discuss your ideas with a group of talented writers, as well as experienced development executives in an open, safe and supportive environment is invaluable," she said.

She also spoke of how 'Collective' would expand her horizons and instill a confidence in her. "The scheme will challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and give me the confidence to really run riot with my ideas," she said. 

Carnival is primarily known as the company behind British historical period drama 'Downton Abbey,' which has won three Golden Globes and 15 Primetime Emmy awards, as well as numerous other accolades, including a Guinness World Record for highest critical ratings for a TV show. 

The company is also behind US shows such as 'Dracula,' and 'The Philanthropist,' and mini-series such as 'Traffik,' David Nicholl’s 'The 7:39,' David Hare’s Worricker Trilogy, William Boyd’s BAFTA-winning 'Any Human Heart,' 'The Hollow Crown,' a co-production with Neal Street, and Peter Morgan’s BAFTA-winning 'The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.'