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First Look at Channel 4 and Nat Geo’s ISIS Drama ‘The State’

Variety logo Variety 7/13/2017 Stewart Clarke
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Channel 4 has released the first trailer for “The State,” the upcoming drama about young British men and women leaving home to join ISIS. The series, from “Wolf Hall” director Peter Kosminsky, will bow on Channel 4 in the U.K. and go out on National Geographic internationally.

The fictional story follows Jalal, played by Sam Otto (“Collateral”), as he follows in his brother’s footsteps and travels to Raqqa, Syria, to fight for Islamic State, alongside his best friend, Ziyad, played by Ryan McKen (“NW”). It also follows the journey of Shakira, played by Ony Uhiara (“Law and Order”), a doctor and single mother who wants to help ISIS, and idealistic teenager Ushna, played by Shavani Seth (“Homeland”), who leaves for Syria after being radicalized online.

The realities and horror of life in Raqqa have different effects on each of the four, as the drama plays out over four parts. Kosminsky said that “The State,” though fictional, is based upon months of research and is an attempt to “address through drama one of the most troubling issues of our age.” The series is produced by Archery Pictures.

“ISIS and its adherents have caused pain and suffering the world over,” Kosminsky said. “But unless we understand why some of our young men and women chose to give up the lives they were living and travel to Syria, why men and women born and brought up in our liberal democracies opt to lay down those lives in its name, how can we ever hope to combat its nihilistic creed?”

The drama is one of the most anticipated of 2017 in Britain and beyond, and launches on Channel 4 in August. The broadcaster will make earlier Kosminsky series available to stream ahead of, and after, the airing of “The State,” including Mark Rylance Iraq war drama “The Government Inspector,” and “Britz,” which looked at a Muslim family in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

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