Playwright Bash Doran to pen spy thriller for Channel 4

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A new six-part spy thriller will be playwright Bash Doran’s first original commission for British television.

The period drama, which has a working title of Jerusalem, will be set in the aftermath of the Second World War, with Britain struggling to define itself in a new world order.

The six hour-long episodes for Channel 4 will follow Feef Symonds, a young woman who joins the Civil Service in 1945 as Attlee’s Labour Party defeats Winston Churchill in the general election.

Her ambition, made complicated by her American lover, prompts her to agree to spy on her own government for the US, as the country is anxious to make sure England’s burgeoning Socialist ambitions don’t fall prey to the agenda of the Soviet Union.

The drama is set around the time of Attlee’s victory over Churchill (PA)

The drama, announced at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, will follow Feef’s struggle to work out what she stands for and what she is capable of as she learns to think for herself as nobody is what they seem.

It has been penned and created by Doran, who is best known for her play The Mystery Of Love And Sex and also worked on Masters Of Sex and Boardwalk Empire and will be produced by 42 and Twenty Twenty Television.

Doran said: “I’m so excited and privileged to be able to write this show with Channel 4, 42 and Twenty Twenty.

“It is my perspective on a defining moment in British history when the nation was divided and there was a fight for Britain’s soul.

“I left England for America not long after I graduated. This show has always been for me an exploration of why I left and my way of coming home.”

The show’s executive producers Eleanor Moran, Tim Carter and Rory Aitken added: “We are hugely excited to bring Bash Doran’s first original series to the screen.

Show bosses said the story echoes the current political climate with Donald Trump and Brexit (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“Jerusalem weaves a tense and emotionally charged spy thriller out of the surprisingly tortured relationship between Britain and America, which echoes down the decades and resonates more powerfully than ever in the era of Trump and Brexit.

“In Feef, Bash has created an extraordinarily modern heroine, who goes from government employee to reluctant traitor at a cost that she herself could never have imagined.”

Beth Willis, head of drama at Channel 4, said: “Bash’s writing is so evocative and immersive you can’t help but to hold on tightly to her extraordinary and diverse cast of characters and never let them go.

“She has found contemporary resonance in the past at every turn. We are honoured and excited that Bash and the brilliant 42 and Twenty Twenty will be bringing six hours of this insightful, epic and sweeping tale to Channel 4.”

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