Channel 4 and Peacock have commissioned six part cyber thriller The Undeclared War, directed and co-written by Peter Kosminsky.
The series reunites Kosminsky with Emmy Award-winning producer Colin Callender and his production company Playground, producers of the Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning miniseries Wolf Hall, which Kosminsky also directed, and the recent hit series All Creatures Great and Small. Playground will co-produce the series with NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, for Channel 4 and Peacock. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales.
Set in a post-pandemic 2024 in the run up to a British general election, The Undeclared War tracks a leading team of analysts buried in the heart of GCHQ (the UK’s version of the NSA) secretly working to ward off a cyber-attack on the country’s electoral system. During a three-year research process, Kosminsky and his team gained access to the cyber security industry on both sides of the Atlantic, allowing a realistic picture of the threat faced by the Western world to be depicted in the drama.
Newcomer Hannah Khalique-Brown will play Saara Parvan, a young student doing work experience in the GCHQ Malware Department, with Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Mission Impossible) playing Danny Patrick, GCHQ’s Head of Operations, Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall, Bridge of Spies) playing John Yeabsley, a Cold War veteran brought back from retirement by GCHQ to combat the heightened threat level, and Adrian Lester (Riviera, Mary Queen of Scots) will play Andrew Makinde, the UK’s first Black Conservative Prime Minister.
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will play Kathy Freeman, an American cyber-analyst on attachment at GCHQ from the NSA. Alex Jennings (A Very English Scandal, The Crown) will play David Neal, the Head of GCHQ,
Kosminsky will direct all six episodes and has written four. Other writers include Declan Lawn (The Salisbury Poisonings), Adam Patterson (The Salisbury Poisonings) and Amelia Spencer (Dead Birds).
Kosminsky will Executive Produce alongside Callender (Wolf Hall, All Creatures Great and Small) and Noëlette Buckley (Wolf Hall, King Lear) for Playground. Robert Jones (Babylon) is the Producer.
Kosminsky says; “The series is based deep within the least-known arm of the UK’s intelligence infrastructure, GCHQ. The story we’re now able to tell casts an extraordinary, revelatory light on the hot, undeclared war taking place right now in the world’s newest and most invisible domain of conflict – cyber.”
Caroline Hollick, Head of Channel 4 Drama says; “Peter Kosminsky is a titan of British television drama, and it’s a privilege to have this ground-breaking thriller on Channel 4 – it’s a truly momentous series which will change the way we see the world around us. I’m also delighted to have such stellar names in the cast, as well as the chance to break brand-new on-screen talent”.
“I’m delighted to be reuniting with Peter to bring his exhilarating vision to life,” says Callender. “THE UNDECLARED WAR is a stunning cautionary tale that brings to life a world never seen before on television or in film. I’m equally thrilled to be partnering with NBCUniversal International Studios, Channel 4 and Peacock, all of whom have been fiercely supportive and dedicated to bringing this provocative, timely story to the screen.”
“It’s such an honor to bring this powerhouse writing and producing team to Peacock for a thrilling drama that will keep viewers at the edge of their seat with this timely and realistic look into cyber security,” adds Lisa Katz, President, Scripted Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.