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State, The (Channel 4 2017, Sam Otto, Ryan McKen)



The State

A powerful four-part drama from renowned writer/director Peter Kosminsky, airing over four consecutive nights. Based on extensive research and first-hand accounts, The State follows four young British men and women who have left their lives behind to join Isis in Raqqah, Syria in 2015.

Jalal (Sam Otto) is following in the footsteps of his older brother, who has been eulogised by Isis as a brave martyr who died in battle. He has persuaded his best friend Ziyaad (Ryan McKen) to accompany him. Single mother Shakira (Ony Uhiara) is with her nine-year-old son Isaac (Nana Agyeman-Bediako) and determined to bring her skills as a junior doctor to the aid of the Islamic State by working in the hospital in Raqqah. Teenager Ushna (Shavani Cameron) has left behind her family in London to fulfil what she sees as her religious duty and the fierce Salafist ideology she has discovered online.

The first episode sees the five crossing into Syria under cover of darkness. Separated at the border, they are driven to Raqqah, the de facto capital of the ‘caliphate’ proclaimed by Isis. Jalal and Ziyaad enjoy the male camaraderie as they are trained and equipped for battle, while Shakira and Ushna are taught the strict rules women must obey. They take oaths of allegiance to Isis, convinced they’ve made the right decision to come, but are soon confronted by the harsh realities of life under Isis which don’t match their expectations.

Sam Otto as Jalal
Ryan McKen as Ziyaad
Ony Uhiara as Shakira
Nana Agyeman-Bediako as Isaac
Shavani Cameron as Ushna


key behind the scenes crew
Writer and Director: Peter Kosminsky
Executive Producers: Kris Thykier, Liza Marshall, Peter Kosminsky

show type

broadcast from
Sunday 20 August 2017
4×60 minute episodes in total.

network and production companies
Channel 4 – Archery Pictures and Stonehenge Films Prod in Association with LipSync Prods and National Geographic


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.


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