Release date for Channel 4 thriller series The Undeclared War

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The Undeclared War, a new Channel 4 series starring Adrian Lester and Simon Pegg, has been announced with a controversial TV stunt

Channel 4 drama series The Undeclared War is set in the UK in the moments before and after a massive cyber attack.

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The series stars Tom McKay, Hannah Khalique-Brown, Adrian Lester, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance.

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A bold stunt to promote the new series resulted in Channel 4 facing an Ofcom investigation over a possible breach of broadcasting regulations.

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Adrian Lester as Prime Minister Rt Hon Andrew Makinde

What trick did Channel 4 pull to start The Undeclared War?

Channel 4 kicked off the marketing campaign for The Undeclared War with a 100-second stunt film starring Adrian Lester as Prime Minister, Andrew Makinde, and Simon Pegg as GCHQ’s Chief of Operations, Daniel Patrick.

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The clip was shot in the style of an emergency briefing that many of us will be all too familiar after the Covid-19 transmissions we’ve experienced over the past two years.

Patrick warned of an impending cyber attack on the UK that could damage vital infrastructure and affect the lives of millions across the country.

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The Prime Minister announced that the safety of the public was his top priority and he would do everything possible to limit the damage, but admitted an attack would still have a significant impact.

Simon Pegg as operations manager at GCHQ Daniel Patrick

Channel 4 launched the film on June 10 at 8:59 p.m. on Channel 4, E4, Film4, More4 and the Channel 4 Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.

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Additionally, on June 11, a 30-second radio advertisement voiced by Lester reiterated news of an impending attack.

Is Ofcom investigating Channel 4?

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Channel 4 said the stunt was inspired by Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio show “War of the Worlds,” which caused some Americans to panic and believe they were being attacked by Martian invaders.

And after the Channel 4 stunt left some British viewers with similar concern, Ofcom was asked to investigate whether the TV and radio stunt broke broadcasting regulations.

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According to Ofcom’s Code, simulated news must be produced in such a way that “there is no reasonable possibility of the audience being misled into believing that they are hearing or seeing real news”.

Considering the TV clip starred two well-known actors and Adrian Lester bears absolutely no resemblance to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, there were a few surefire giveaways that the emergency broadcast wasn’t real.

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However, the radio advert will only have included the actor’s voice, and with many people likely to mute Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he appears on television, some listeners can be forgiven for believing the radio advert is authentic.

What is “The Undeclared War” about?

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Set in 2024 in the run-up to the next general election, The Undeclared War follows a team of technicians working at GCHQ to avert a cyberattack that could affect the outcome of the vote.

The six-part series explores the threat posed by an unknown enemy nation as it embarks on a new Cold War in the age of cyberwarfare.

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When is The Undeclared War release date?

The Undeclared War airs on Channel 4 on 30 June at 9pm, later episodes air weekly at the same time.

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Episodes can be viewed on All 4 shortly after they first air.

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