Before founding Top Hat, Darren was a factual commissioner at the BBC. He originated and executive produced dramas such as the Bafta and RTS winning Murdered by my Boyfriend and the Broadcast Award winning My Murder. He was the executive producer on the critically acclaimed Meet The Ukippers and as a commissioner oversaw the Grierson and RTS winning drama series Our World War, the Grierson winning Our War: Goodbye Afghanistan and Inside the Commons.
During his career as a film maker he has worked across current affairs, documentary, history and politics. He started his film making career in BBC Current Affairs where he specialised in investigations and films in war zones. Films he produced and directed won multiple RTS awards as well as Banff, Peabody, Foreign Press Association and Amnesty awards.
EMMA WHITLOCK - Executive Producer
Emma is an award winning film maker who has worked in factual TV for over twenty years in the UK and the US. Emma was an Executive Producer at Discovery Networks Europe where she oversaw a successful slate of history, science and factual entertainment formats. She is responsible for critically acclaimed series such as ‘Genius of Britain’ with Stephen Hawking for Channel Four and 'Inside the Commons', an observational documentary for the BBC about a year in the House of Commons.
Marisa Verazzo - Head of Production
Marisa joined Top Hat as Head of Production in April 2018. Her television career began at the BBC, working in production management across all areas of factual programming. Marisa has managed popular series for Channel 4, such as The Commandos, Cutting Edge and Walking Through History with Tony Robinson, as well as, documentaries for the BBC about poverty in the UK and the troubles in Northern Ireland. Recently Marisa line produced Melvin Bragg’s award-winning arts series The South Bank Show and was Head of Production at Wild Pictures before joining Top Hat.
Heenan Bhatti - Series Producer
Heenan joined Top Hat in June 2017 and is a multi award-winning director and series producer. His first major documentary film, The Lost Frescoes, followed emergency restoration work on the world-renowned frescoes at the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy, following an earthquake. Other films include: Mission Impossible, which documented attempts by a team of forensic scientists to unearth a mass grave during the Balkans conflict; The Real Gary Glitter, a study of the dark side of celebrity; and God's Waiting Room, observing the work of a Muslim undertakers. Series include Paul Merton in India, Derren Brown Investigates, Make Bradford British and A Very British Wedding. He has won a number of awards, including a BAFTA, Prix Europa, Rose D'Or, Royal Television Society, and a Broadcast Award.
At Top Hat, Heenan is series producing a prime-time documentary series for Channel 4.
Ben Steele - Creative Director
Ben joined Top Hat in 2016 and is the series director and cinematographer behind Love & Hate Crime. In recent years Ben has been nominated for two EMMYS, a BAFTA and won a Grierson Award, Rory Peck Sony Impact Award and a Foreign Press Association Award. Recent films have been commissioned by HBO, Netflix, BBC and Channel 4.
Elliott Swinburn - Producer
Elliott joined Top Hat in June 2016, producing Episode 3 of Love and Hate Crime: Series 1. He started with Top Hat after working on the BAFTA nominated 'The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs' and CNN’s 'The Race for the White House'.
Esther McWatters - Development Producer
Esther joined Top Hat in 2016. Previously she worked at the BBC producing and directing films across genres including This World, the Culture Show and Watchdog.