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‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Carnival to Produce ‘Jamestown’

Max Beesley and Jason Flemyng play English settlers in 'Jamestown'

LONDON — “Downton Abbey” creator Carnival Films is to produce eight-part drama series “Jamestown,” which charts the early days of the first British settlers as they embark on their new lives in America.

The show, which has been commissioned by European pay TV operator Sky, is written by Bill Gallagher (“Lark Rise to Candleford,” “The Paradise”), and will go into production this month.

Leading the cast of male settlers are Max Beesley, Jason Flemyng, Dean Lennox-Kelly, Shaun Dooley, Stuart Martin, Steven Waddington, Matt Stokoe and Burn Gorman. The female settlers are played by Naomi Battrick, Sophie Rundle and Niamh Walsh.

Set in 1619, “Jamestown” follows the settlers as they establish a community in the New World. Amongst those landing onshore are a group of women destined to be married to the men of Jamestown, including three spirited women from England: Jocelyn (Battrick), Alice (Rundle) and Verity (Walsh).

Leaving their old lives behind, these women have embarked on this journey to start afresh, fulfill their dreams and become the female pioneers of an exciting new western outpost.

“Jamestown” was commissioned for Sky by head of drama, Anne Mensah, commissioning editor, Cameron Roach, and director of Sky 1, Adam MacDonald. Carnival’s Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant and Richard Fell will executive produce, and the producer is Sue de Beauvoir. The series will be distributed by NBCUniversal Intl. Distribution.

Gareth Neame, managing director of Carnival Films, said: “This is a unique project: the birth of America through the eyes of the early English settlers. Bill Gallagher has created a show which boasts adventure, community and a remarkable range of characters. Combining life and death, power, ambition, love and rivalry, the stakes are high and the drama tantamount.”

Mensah said: “The wonderful Bill Gallagher has managed to combine an amazing tale of bravery and adventure with unforgettable characterization and compelling emotion that mark out ‘Jamestown’ as completely unique. The women at the center of our story were choosing a new life in a country from which they could never return — personal stakes on that level make for simply incredible drama.”

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