Carnival Films

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Carnival Films
Production company
Industry Television Production
Founded 1978 (as Picture Partnership Productions Ltd.)
1988 (as Carnival Film and Theatre Ltd.)
2006 (as Carnival Film & Television Ltd.)
Founder Brian Eastman
Leszek Burzynski
Key people
Gareth Neame
(Managing Director)
David O'Donoghue
(Chief Operating Officer)
Danielle Dajani
(Head of Production)
Phil Temple
(Head of Development)
Aliboo Bradbury
(Head of Business Affairs)
Nigel Marchant
(Executive Producer)
Richard Fell
(Executive Producer)
Products Motion pictures, television programmes
Owner NBCUniversal
Parent Universal Studios

Carnival Films is an award winning British television production company based in London, UK. It has produced television series for all the major UK networks including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky, as well as a number of international broadcasters including PBS, A&E, HBO and NBC. Its productions vary from single dramas and long-running television drama to feature film and stage productions.


Carnival Films was founded in 1978 by feature film producer Brian Eastman.

Over the last thirty four years Carnival has produced over 500 hours of drama and comedy for television, cinema and stage. This included 70 hours of Agatha Christie’s Poirot starring David Suchet and 24 hours of Rosemary & Thyme, starring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris. In the action/adventure genre it produced BUGS, Oktober and The Grid, in comedy drama it produced Jeeves and Wooster starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, teenage drama-comedy As If, as well as the adaptations of Tom Sharpe’s novels Blott on the Landscape and Porterhouse Blue.

In 2004 the BBC’s former Head of Drama Commissioning Gareth Neame joined Carnival as Managing Director.[1] In 2007 former Creative Director of BBC Drama Sally Woodward Gentle joined the company as Creative Director. The two had previously worked together on Spooks (MI:5), Tipping the Velvet and Cambridge Spies.

In 2008 Carnival was acquired by NBCUniversal as part of its plan to increase its presence in content creation outside the US.[2] Following several more acquisitions Carnival is now part of NBCUniversal International Television Production alongside newer additions Monkey Kingdom, Working Title Television, Chocolate Media and Lucky Giant in the UK, Lark in Canada and Matchbox Pictures in Australia.[3][4]

Under the direction of Gareth Neame, Carnival has produced series such as; The Philanthropist for NBC; hit BBC series Hotel Babylon; the critically acclaimed television films Enid starring Helena Bonham Carter and Matthew Macfadyen and Page Eight starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes; landmark four-part drama Any Human Heart starring Jim Broadbent, Matthew MacFadyen, Hayley Atwell and Kim Cattrall; The Hollow Crown, a BBC adaptation of Shakespeare's history plays starring Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw and Jeremy Irons; The Last Weekend, a three-part adaptation of Blake Morrison's novel; and Whitechapel for ITV.

Carnival’s biggest hit, both critically and commercially, is the Julian Fellowes penned Downton Abbey.[5] A worldwide phenomenon that has aired in 212 countries, Downton Abbey has won 39 national and international awards, including Outstanding Mini-Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards[6] and Best Mini-Series at the Golden Globe Awards.[7] The Guinness Book of World Records named Downton the "most critically acclaimed English-language television show" of 2011. In September 2012, Downton Abbey became the most nominated international television programme in Primetime Emmy history with 27 nominations over the first two series.[8] In January 2013, the cast of Downton Abbey won Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.[9] The third series was the highest-rated series to date with a consolidated audience of 11.45 million in the United Kingdom.[10] In the United States, the third series finale drew 8.2 million viewers up from 5.4 million for the second series finale. As a whole, the third series on PBS drew a 66% greater audience than the second series.[11] A fourth series of Downton Abbey begins production in early 2013.




  • Whitechapel IV: ITV has ordered a fourth series of Whitechapel, the London-set Gothic crime thriller, to air in 2013. Whitechapel was originally ordered as two serials but its success led to it being extended into a 6 x 60’ format for the third series. The fourth series will follow the transmission template of the third series, with three two-episode stories.[12]
  • Downton Abbey IV: An eight episode series plus a Christmas episode is set to start production in February 2013 with a broadcast date slated for Autumn 2013.[14]
  • Dracula: A 10 episode series for NBC and Sky Living based on Bram Stoker's classic tale, starring Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. The series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There's only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.[15]


  • Downton Abbey: four series (from 2010) for ITV1 – total 35 episodes.[16] The third series covers a period of 18 months in the lives of the Crawley family between 1920 and 1921.[17] Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Martha Levinson.
  • Whitechapel: four series (from 2009) for ITV1 – total 18 episodes.


2006–Present (as Carnival Film and Television Ltd.)
1989-2005 (as Carnival Film and Theatre Ltd.)
  • The Grid: Mini series (2004) for BBC and TNT – total 2 episodes
  • Agatha Christie’s Poirot: (1989-2004) for ITV1 – total 53 episodes
  • As If: four series (2001-2004) for Channel 4 – total 60 episodes
  • As If (US TV Series): one series (2002) for UPN – total 7 episodes
  • The 10th Kingdom: Mini Series (2000) for NBC – total 9 episodes
  • Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married: two series (1999-2000) for ITV1 – total 16 episodes
  • Oktober: Mini Series (1998) for ITV1 – total three episodes
  • BUGS: four series (1995-1998) for BBC One – total 40 episodes
  • Crime Traveller: one series (1997) for BBC One – total 8 episodes
  • The Mill on the Floss: TV Film (1997) for BBCOne/WGBH/Canal Plus
  • The Fragile Heart: Mini Series (1996) for Channel 4 – total 3 episodes
  • The Infiltrator: TV Film (1995) for HBO
  • Anna Lee: one series (1994) for ITV – total 5 episodes
  • Jeeves and Wooster: four series (1990-1993) for Granada/ ITV – total 23 episodes
  • All or Nothing At All: Mini Series (1993) for LWT/ ITV – total 3 episodes
  • Head Over Heels: one series (1993) for Carlton/ITV – total 7 episodes
  • The Big Battalions: Mini Series (1992) for Channel 4 – total 5 episodes
  • Traffik: TV Film (1989) for Channel 4
  • Forever Green: two series (1989-1992) for LWT/ ITV – total 18 episodes
1978-1988 (as Picture Partnership Productions Ltd.)
  • Porterhouse Blue: Mini Series (1987) for Channel 4 – total 4 episodes
  • Blott on the Landscape: Mini Series (1985) for BBC – total 6 episodes
  • Father’s Day: two series (1983-1984) – total 14 episodes



1978-1988 (as Picture Partnership Productions Ltd.)



  • Juno and the Paycock (1993) Albery Theatre, London[23]
  • How Was It For You? Theatre Royal, Plymouth
  • Map of the Heart (1991) Globe Theatre, London[24]
  • The Ghost Train (1992) Lyric Theatre, London[25]
  • What A Performance (1994) Queens Theatre, London[26]
  • Misery (1992) Criterion Theatre, London[27]
  • Shadowlands (1990) Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York
  • Up On The Roof (1987)


Carnival Films has won a wide variety of awards for its work on Television, Film and Stage productions. With the company itself winning the ‘Best Independent Production Company’ award at both the Televisual Magazine Bulldog Awards 2011,[28] and the Broadcast Awards 2012.[29] In addition Carnival’s productions have together been awarded nine Primetime Emmy Awards;[30] one Golden Globe;[31] nineteen BAFTAs;[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39] one Screen Actors Guild Award;[40] a Producers Guild of America Award;[41] two National Television Award;[42] three International Emmy Awards;[43] five RTS awards;[44][45][46] four BANFF Rockie Awards;[47] three Ivor Novello Awards;[48][49] two Broadcast awards;[50] a Bulldog award; an Evening Standard Theatre Award; and a Tony.[51]

Further to this success the company’s productions have also received nominations from such varied awards bodies as the Academy Awards,[52] the Laurence Olivier Awards, The Monte Carlo International Television Festival,[53] The Screen Actors Guild,[54] The American Society of Cinematographers,[55] The Edgar Allan Poe Awards,[56] The Rose D’Or[57] and The San Sebastian Film Festival.[58]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Variety  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Conlan, Tara (2008-08-20). "NBC Universal buys Carnival". The Guardian (London). 
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  9. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (2013-01-28). "SAG 2013: Downton Abbey takes top prize at Screen Actors Guild Awards". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
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  11. ^ O'Connell, Michael. "TV Ratings: 'Downton Abbey' Finale Rises to Record 8.2 Million Viewers". The Hollywood Reporter. 
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  16. ^ "Downton Abbey is given third series". BBC News. 2011-11-03. 
  17. ^ Halliday, Josh (2011-11-03). "ITV plc,Downton Abbey,Julian Fellowes,Television industry (Media),Television (Culture),Television and radio TV,Period drama (TV genre),Media,Culture,UK news". The Guardian (London). 
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  22. ^ "Cry Wolf: Review". Screen International (237) (London). 19 April 1980. p. 67. 
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  25. ^ Taylor, Paul (1992-12-02). "THEATRE / Out of steam: Paul Taylor sees The Ghost Train rolling on at the Lyric, Hammersmith". The Independent (London). 
  26. ^ Taylor, Paul (1994-10-14). "THEATRE / Replaying the field: What A Performance, The Queen's Theatre". The Independent (London). 
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  40. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (2013-01-28). "SAG 2013: Downton Abbey takes top prize at Screen Actors Guild Awards". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
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  49. ^ "Out of tune: Lily Allen opts for dressed-down dark shades while Jo Whiley turns up volume with acid brights at Ivors". Daily Mail (London). 2011-05-19. 
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  52. ^ "Shadowlands (1993)". The New York Times. 
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