Channel 4 has commissioned Voltage TV to produce a three-part documentary series, bin Laden: The Inside Story.

From a quiet and introspective son of a billionaire to global terrorist mastermind, the series will chart the story of Osama bin Laden’s transformation.

This version of bin Laden’s story will be told by those who were there; childhood friends, journalists who interviewed him, mujhadeen who fought alongside him, members of Al Qaeda who once held him in the highest esteem and now twenty years on distance themselves from the heinous crime of 9/11.

For the first time ever on western television the doc will hear from Abu Hafs, senior Al Qaeda member, spiritual leader and friend to bin Laden. The mujhadeen warlord, Sayed Ramen Wahdiyar, aka Fearless, who trained bin Laden, describes the young idealist who joined the fight against the Soviets. bin Laden’s own voice will be woven through the films, excerpts taken from his personal collection of audio tapes found at his house in Kandahar and heard for the first time in public.

Through those close to him, alongside the accounts of FBI and CIA agents whose task it was to track him down, the series will weave a never-seen-before story of the perfect storm which culminated in 9/11 and led to one man’s determination to wage war on America and change the world as we knew it.

The series has been commissioned by Sacha Mirzoeff, Channel 4 Factual commissioning editor and Head of Bristol Hub. bin Laden: The Inside Story will be made by Voltage TV, with Jenny Ash directing and executive producers Sanjay Singhal and Jo Abel.

Of the commission Sacha Mirzoeff said: “As Osama bin Laden was the world’s most infamous terrorist, the many films about him generally focus on the impact of his acts of terror.  But how much do we really know about the man himself?  bin Laden: The Inside Story looks at the person behind the headlines and highlights some of his sliding door moments.   It will be told from an international cast of characters who knew him personally from childhood to his last years.”

Sanjay Singhal added: “The deeper you look into the life of Osama bin Laden, the more extraordinary it seems. From the soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the war on terror, he watches as the world changes around him – until he decides to change it in return. I’m surprised by the complexity of his narrative and journey – anything but the simple story we’ve been provided to date.”

Jon Creamer

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