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The Promise

Category: News Release

The Promise, a new 4-part drama from acclaimed writer/director Peter Kosminsky, stars Claire Foy (Little Dorrit, Upstairs Downstairs) and Christian Cooke (Cemetery Junction) in the lead roles.

The Promise tells the story of two British characters - Erin (Claire Foy), an 18-year-old Londoner who visits present-day Israel for the first time, and her grandfather, Len (Christian Cooke) - a soldier in the British peace-keeping force in 1940s Palestine.

Erin's best friend Eliza (Perdita Weeks) has joint British/Israeli nationality although she lives in the UK.  She travels to Israel to carry out National Service in the army and invites Erin to join her for the summer.

Erin is anticipating a summer of parties and attractive, young Israeli men but just before she departs she finds her sick grandfather's diary. She starts to read it en route to Israel and learns about his life in the army in the then Palestine.  She discovers Len witnessed first-hand the atrocities of the Holocaust and the violent events that occurred when the modern state of Israel was established.

Moved by Len's account and the realisation he wasn't much older than her when he wrote it, Erin retraces his steps in modern day Israel.  Her journey is exhilarating and turbulent in equal measure.  She is forced to confront the drama, complexity and tragedy of life in this troubled land for Jews and Palestinians alike.  She also uncovers the disturbing conclusion to her grandfather's service in the Middle East and a deep love and understanding for a man she had naively written off as old and irrelevant.

Peter Kosminsky and his team have extensively researched The Promise for the past seven years.  Although the story it tells is fictional it is inspired by the testimony of many British soldiers, Israelis and Palestinians who recalled the Mandate period and life in Israel/Palestine today.

Acclaimed Israeli and Arab actors - including Itay Tiran (Lebanon), Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor), Hiam Abbass (The Visitor) and Ali Suliman (Paradise Now) - feature alongside Foy and Cooke.

The international cast also includes Katharina Schüttler (Truth or Dare), Perdita Weeks (Lost in Austen), Holly Aird (Waking the Dead), Ulrich Noethen (Downfall), Iain McKee (The Visit), Ben Miles (Lark Rise to Candleford) and Lucas Gregorowicz (Soul Kitchen).

The drama serial is commissioned for Channel 4 by Head of Drama Camilla Campbell.  It is produced by Hal Vogel and executive produced by David Aukin for Daybreak Pictures, a division of Mentorn Media.

The Promise is a Channel 4 co-production with Canal + and Arte.