Channel 4 has commissioned Baghdad Central, a new six-part crime thriller written by The Last Kingdom scribe Stephen Butchard. Story, which is based on the novel by Elliott Colla, is set in 2003 Baghdad after Saddam Hussein has fallen and the city lies at the center of the coalition’s efforts to secure the region.
In the midst of the chaos, crime and paranoia, Muhsin al-Khafaji, an Iraqi ex-policeman has lost his home, his wife and his career and is battling to keep himself and his ailing daughter safe. When his desperate 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.
The 6×60 series is produced by Euston Films, part of FremantleMedia UK, with MD Kate Harwood exec producing. It was commissioned for Channel 4 by Beth Willis, Head of Drama. Manpreet Dosanjh and Matthew Wilson are Commissioning Executives for Channel 4 while Jonathan Curling will produce. Filming is expected to commence later this year with an eye to air in 2018. Cast and director are yet to be announced. FremantleMedia International is handling global distribution for the series.
“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,” said Butchard. “Fueled 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.”
Harwood added: “We were pleased to find in Elliott Colla’s mesmerising novel, a truly original source for the inspirational Stephen Butchard to build a drama set in Baghdad, when it was the pivot of world history. Khafaji, the wry, pragmatic cop who is forced to collaborate with the Coalition forces to save his daughter’s life becomes a hero for the modern age in a fresh take on this post conflict world.”