The series will tell the story of three generations of a British-Pakistani family over four tumultuous decades.
May 1, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — The British-Pakistani actor and rapper who penned a much-shared 3000-words essay in 2016 about being typecast as a terrorist is back in the news with ‘Englistan’.
Riz Ahmed, the British star of Rogue One, Jason Bourne and HBO’s The Night Of, is working with the BBC on his first self-penned TV drama.
Englistan — which Ahmed first revealed to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 — is a nine-part series telling the story of three generations of a British-Pakistani family, following them as they pursue their dreams over four tumultuous decades, navigating shifting circumstances and evolving loyalties.
The project, announced Monday, is being produced by BBC Studios Drama London in association with Left Handed Films for BBC Two.
“I’m excited to be working with [BBC Studios executive producer] Esther Springer and all the team at BBC Studios,” said Ahmed, a British actor and rapper of Pakistani descent. “Englistan is an untold British story with universal themes and resonance. It’s the story I always wanted to tell, and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to do so.”
Added BBC Drama controller Piers Wenger: “Set against the familiar backdrop of the late 20th century but from a point of view which feels entirely new, Englistan is the story of the birth of multicultural Britain as seen from the inside. We are honored to be working with Riz on this epic, deeply personal story.”
Englistan was commissioned by Wenger, Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two. Executive producers are Ahmed for Left Handed Films, Springer and Hilary Salmon for BBC Studios Drama London and Lucy Richer for BBC Two.
Speaking to THR in 2016, the Emmy Award-winning actor said that he hoped to direct as “much as possible” of his drama, following up on his debut short film, Daytimer, which bowed in Sundance in 2015, but added that he didn’t intend to cast himself.
Ahmed’s essay about being typecast as a terrorist was published in the Guardian, titled ‘Typecast as a Terrorist’.
In his piece, Ahmed details his experiences of being cast as a radical Muslim at airports in the era post-9/11. “As my acting career developed, I was no longer cast as a radical Muslim – except at the airport,” he wrote.