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Former ‘Downton Abbey’ Exec Sally Woodward Gentle Sets Up Indie Company

Project includes one from James Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

LONDON — Producer Sally Woodward Gentle, who was previously creative director at “Downton Abbey” producer Carnival Films, has set up a new independent production company, Sid Gentle Films, which is in development on a number of drama projects.

The company has been set up to produce high-end scripted drama productions, long-running returning series, one-off features and mini-series for U.K. and international broadcasters, as well as developing a selection of independent feature film projects.

Woodward Gentle, who is the founder and CEO of the new production company, is joined by Henrietta Colvin as head of development. Lee Morris joins early next year as managing director.

Projects in development are an adaptation for BBC One by one of Britain’s most successful screenwriting partnerships, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The duo has previously penned five James Bond films from “The World Is Not Enough” to “Skyfall.”

The company is also working with acclaimed screenwriters Ben Court and Caroline Ip (“May Day,” “Whitechapel”) on a big-budget, original supernatural thriller, also for the BBC.

In addition, Sid Gentle Films is in discussion with other broadcasters about the development of a slate of original dramas.

Woodward Gentle said: “With talk of a new golden age in program-making and the rapidly changing TV landscape, it is a particularly exciting time to be working in TV and an even more exciting time to be setting up Sid Gentle Films.

“Running my own, truly independent production company is something I have always wanted to do — working on authored projects with creative integrity that I am truly passionate about with the best people in the industry.

“We are already in a position to start production on a number of new shows we have in development, which is exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measures.”

Woodward Gentle has produced some of the most acclaimed U.K. drama in recent years including the BAFTA award-winning “Any Human Heart” (Channel 4), an adaptation of William Boyd’s novel of the same name, four series of “Whitechapel” (ITV) and the award-winning drama “Enid,” starring Helena Bonham-Carter.

Over her career, Woodward Gentle has also been responsible for over a hundred hours of drama, such as the critically acclaimed “Cambridge Spies” and “Tipping the Velvet,” “The Sally Lockhart Mysteries,” “Waking the Dead,” “Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!” and “The Last Weekend.”

She is also the executive producer on Carnival Films’ forthcoming and highly anticipated David Nicholls’ love story “The 7.39,” starring David Morrissey, Sheridan Smith and Olivia Coleman.

Woodward Gentle most recently worked at “Downton Abbey” producer, Carnival Films, where she was creative director overseeing the production company’s drama output. She has also held senior positions at the BBC as creative director for drama production and acting head of BBC drama series and serials.

Morris is the BAFTA-winning producer of high-profile dramas including “Any Human Heart,” “The Damned United,” “The Jury” and “Enid.” He is currently producer of “Da Vinci’s Demons.”

Colvin was previously head of development of Carnival and prior to that was head of development for drama at TalkbackThames. She has also worked at Channel 4 and later Box TV.

The new indie has been set up with financial backing from global investment firm The Yucaipa Companies.

Sid Gentle Films will be based in London.

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