UPDATED WITH CAST… Altered Carbon’s Waleed Zuaiter, Homeland’s July Namir, Condor’s Leem Lubany, Doctor Foster’s Bertie Carvel and House of Cards’ Corey Stoll star in C4 drama Baghdad Central.
EXCLUSIVE: Doctor Who and Lore director Alice Troughton has been set as lead director of Channel 4’s crime thriller Baghdad Central as filming kicks off in Morocco.
Troughton is a rising star in British directing, having directed the Mary Webster episode of Amazon’s horror drama Lore and an episode of Netflix’s sci-fi epic Lost in Space. She’s also recently worked on Sky’s A Discovery of Witches and Tin Star, as well as episodes of The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Teen Wolf. She previously directed a number of episodes of Doctor Who and spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
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She is joined on Baghdad Central, which is produced by FremantleMedia’s Euston Films, by Humans director Ben Williams, who will direct the second block of filming. Filming began this week in Morroco and will be shot across cities including Ouarzazate, Rabat, Casablanca and Mohammedia.
The drama, written by The Last Kingdom scribe Stephen Butchard and 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 this chaos, crime and paranoia, Iraqi ex-policeman Muhsin al-Khafaji, played by Zuaiter, has lost everything and is battling daily to keep himself and his sick daughter, Mrouj, played by Namir, safe. But when he learns that his estranged elder daughter Sawsan, played by Lubany is missing Khafaji is forced into a desperate search to find her. He soon finds himself up against her enigmatic university tutor, Professor Zubeida Rashid, played by Homeland’s Clara Khoury and discovers that Sawsan and her two close friends Sanaa (Nora El Koussour) and Zahra (Maisa Abd Elhadi) have been leading a hidden life that’s led them into great danger.
Khafaji feels powerless until he meets Frank Temple, an ex-Police Officer played by Carvel, who has arrived from Britain on a mission to rebuild the Iraqi Police Force from the ground up. Temple recruits ex-cop Khafaji to give his operation some much-needed local credibility. But unbeknown to both Temple and his nemesis, upstanding American Military Police Captain John Parodi, played by Stoll, Khafaji is compelled by his own, secret reasons to risk everything by collaborating with the occupying forces. Meanwhile a new threat represented by security op Douglas Evans, played by Humans’ Neil Maskell provides a terrifying and sinister counterforce to his efforts.
Khafaji quickly discovers that Sawsan’s disappearance is linked to the murder of an American employee and so entwines himself in that investigation to uncover the truth about what has happened to his daughter and her friends. But, as the addictive, thrilling world of Baghdad Central unfolds, he soon finds himself embarking on a wider quest for justice in a society that’s become truly lawless.
Charlotte Spencer, July Namir, Tawfeek Barhom, Youssef Kerkour, Hisham Suleiman, Nora El Koussour and Maisa Abd Elhadi round out the cast.
The six-part series is exec produced by Euston Films boss Kate Harwood and was commissioned for Channel 4 by former Head of Drama Beth Willis. Manpreet Dosanjh and Matthew Wilson are Commissioning Executives for Channel 4 while Jonathan Curling will produce. FremantleMedia International is handling global distribution for the series.
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