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10/07/2017

Channel 4 Commissions 'Baghdad Central'

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Channel 4 has commissioned a new six-part crime thriller based on Baghdad Central, a novel by Elliott Colla.

The 6x60 series is set in Baghdad in 2003, when Saddam Hussein fell from power and the city lies at the centre of the coalition's efforts to secure the region.

Muhsin al-Khafaji, a former Iraqi policeman, has lost his home, his wife and his career and is battling to keep himself and his ailing daughter safe. When his brother in-law asks him to help find his missing niece, Khafaji's sense of love and duty force him to accept the task. But it quickly becomes clear that his enquiries are not welcome at the university where she studied, or in the occupying force's Green Zone where she claimed to work as a translator. Khafaji and his daughter, Mrouj, are soon convinced there is more to discover than just a missing person.

When Khafaji is arrested and tortured by US forces in a case of mistaken identity, he meets British ex-police officer Frank Citrone who makes an offer he can't refuse – medical supplies and safety for his daughter – in return for his skills as a police officer in the Green Zone.

BAFTA nominated writer, Stephen Butchard, said: "For me, this is a story of the strength of ordinary men and women who, in the face of incredible trauma and hardship, keep taking on life one step at a time. Fuelled by love for friends and family the unbearable is not only made bearable, but conquered. It is a story of survival and the quest for hope… told through the universal prism of a fathers' love for his daughter."

Beth Willis, Channel 4 Head of Drama, said: "We are thrilled to be working with Euston Films and Stephen Butchard in this powerful, pertinent and poetic drama – a gripping thriller with contemporary resonance at every turn. Stephen has created the perfect modern reluctant hero in Inspector Khafaji – a stubborn, wry and brilliant policeman whose love of his daughter and sense of humanity knows no bounds."

Baghdad Central (6x60) was commissioned for Channel 4 by Beth Willis, Head of Drama. Manpreet Dosanjh and Matthew Wilson are Commissioning Executives for Channel 4. Filming will commence in 2018 with the series scheduled to air on Channel 4 later that year. The series is produced by Euston Films (part of FremantleMedia UK). Kate Harwood is executive producer, Jonathan Curling (The Secret) producer, with director and full cast to be announced at a later date. FremantleMedia International will act as the global distributor for the series.

(LM/MH)
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