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Channel 4 to make an epic spy thriller set just after the Second World War called Jerusalem

Six-part drama is the first UK series commission for Boardwalk Empire and Masters of Sex writer Bash Doran

Published: Wednesday, 23rd August 2017 at 12:01 am

A new period drama set in the aftermath of the Second World War promises to shed light on the modern era of Trump and Brexit, according to Channel 4.


The as-yet-uncast six-part drama Jerusalem will air next year and revolves around Feef Symonds, a bold and ambitious 20-something woman who joins the Civil Service in 1945, just as Clement Attlee's Labour party sweeps to victory defeating Churchill in an electoral bolt-from-the-blue.

Feef who has an American lover, agrees to spy on her own government for the Americans. Washington has a hidden agenda in making sure England's burgeoning Socialist ambitions don't move into Soviet hands – a plot line which Channel 4 believes will help illuminate the modern political world with a left wing Labour leader in Jeremy Corbyn and the Presidency of Donald Trump.

“Today, as the world finds itself at the mercy of strained political relations and ever-shifting borders and alliances, Jerusalem explores another time wracked by similar fears and mistrusts and provides a fascinating insight into a time and place where the balance could tip either way, and where the fulcrum of power rests on a pinpoint.

“Struggling to work out what she stands for, and what she’s capable of, Feef must learn to think for herself and play by her own rules at a time when knowledge becomes power and nothing and no-one is what they seem.”

Executive producers Eleanor Moran, Tim Carter and Rory Aitken said that the “tense and emotionally charged spy thriller” will depict the realities 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."

The drama has been written by Bash Doran in her first series commission for British TV. The writer, whose first name is Bathsheba, collaborated with comedians Mitchell and Webb in her early years, is known mainly as a playwright. But she has also written episodes of Boardwalk Empire, Smash, Masters of Sex.

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."


Bash Doran added: “I’m so excited and privileged to be able to write this show ... 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.”


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