LONDON — Carnival Films, the London-based production company behind “Downton Abbey,” has appointed Danielle Dajani as its head of production, and Tara Cook as development producer, working alongside Phil Temple, who has been promoted and also serves as development producer.
Dajani joins Carnival, which is part of NBCUniversal Intl. Television Production, from Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, where she was exec VP. Before Raleigh, Dajani was VP of international physical production and production finance at Walt Disney Pictures in L.A., head of production at Aramid Capital in London, and general manager of Village Roadshow Production Management in Sydney.
Dajani takes over from Kimberley Hikaka, who departs after nearly seven years at Carnival.
In the role, Dajani will be responsible for overseeing all of the company’s productions across its U.K. and international businesses.
As development producers, Cook and Temple will be responsible for the origination, development and sale of Carnival’s upcoming U.K. and international slates.
Cook previously co-produced the first two series of “Call the Midwife,” having developed the show whilst head of development at Sam Mendes’ Neal Street Productions, where she executive produced “Stuart: A Life Backwards,” and worked across feature films such as “Things We Lost in the Fire,” “Starter for Ten” and “Road to Perdition.” Recently Cook has been developing a number of projects as an independent producer, including “Lawless” with ShondaLand/ABC.
Cook and Temple will report to Gareth Neame, managing director/executive producer, and will be supported by Claire Daxter, development editor.
Founded in 1978, Carnival has produced over 500 hours of drama, such as “Downton Abbey,” “Dracula,” starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, co-production “The Hollow Crown,” David Nicholls’ “The 7:39,” David Hare’s “Worricker Trilogy,” William Boyd’s “Any Human Heart,” Helena Bonham Carter starrer “Enid” as well as miniseries “Traffik” and long-running favorites “Poirot” and “Rosemary & Thyme.”
“Downton Abbey” has won two Golden Globes and 10 Primetime Emmy awards, and is the most nominated non-U.S. show in the history of the Emmys with 51 nominations.
Carnival recently announced that it is teaming with BBC America on new series “The Last Kingdom” for the BBC, as well as “Nostradamus,” which it will produce with Joseph Fiennes and Anonymous Content.
Carnival’s drama “The Lost Honor of Christopher Jefferies” is set to air on U.K. commercial network ITV later this year. Based on the true story of a retired schoolmaster wrongly suspected of murder, the screenplay was penned by Peter Morgan, Oscar nominated for “Frost/Nixon” and “The Queen.” Jefferies will be played by Jason Watkins (“Being Human,” “Psychoville,” “Little Dorrit”).