The Undeclared War is an intense political tale of cyber attacks that threaten to wreak havoc on Britain ahead of a general election in the near future.
If you loved the dramatic pacing of Killing Eve season 4 and the disturbing dystopian setting of The Handmaid’s Tale book and show then Channel 4’s new series might be just what you’ve been looking for. Starring the likes of Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance and written by Wolf Hall’s Peter Kosminsky, The Undeclared War brings to life a story set in the near-future as the political landscape is shifting.
A general election is looming on the horizon but when Britain finds itself targeted by a series of complex cyber attacks, GCHQ analysts are faced with the daunting reality of having to combat them.
Here we reveal what The Undeclared War is about, how many episodes there are and how you can watch all the suspenseful moments unfold without missing anything…
*Warning: spoilers ahead!*
What is The Undeclared War about?
Whilst The Undeclared War might be set in the near-future of 2024 the complex political landscape and cyber security risk it brings so vividly to life makes the new political thriller not only incredibly relevant but seem frighteningly all-too believable. The series’ all-star cast play a group of GCHQ’s best and brightest analysts as Britain is targeted with complex and potentially catastrophic cyber attacks by Russia.
In the show a general election is looming making the stakes even higher and when a seemingly routine test goes awry and it becomes clear that all hell is breaking loose, intern Saara finds herself on the frontline. Revealed to be extraordinarily gifted, Saara might only have been there a matter of hours but her talents are soon spotted by boss Danny Patrick.
He soon gives her pride of place in their efforts to combat the attacks and fight back against the unseen online threat. There’s the perfect amount of cat-and-mouse storytelling that made both The Killing Eve book ending and show finale so successful as well as the intensity of Trigger Point on ITV. It’s clear that they’re in an all-out cyber war but beating their opponent won’t be easy…
Written and extensively researched by Peter Kosminsky, who is perhaps best known for historical drama Wolf Hall, he previously revealed that he attempted with the show to “shine a light” on government policy that affects us all.
He explained in a statement to Channel 4 (opens in new tab), “The Undeclared War has been many years in the making. It imagines how the next few years might play out in the domain of cyber warfare – a battle unseen by the public but with potentially devastating consequences.”
“In my work, I’ve tried to shine a light on aspects of public policy which affect us all but where the details of what is taking place, often behind the scenes, are not well understood,” he added. “I hope this drama will give audiences an insight into a world certain to impact our lives significantly in the years ahead.”
How many episodes are there of The Undeclared War?
With so many complex and intriguing plot-threads still needing to be unravelled in The Undeclared War, it’s brilliant news for fans that the political thriller is six episodes long. This gives the Channel 4 series plenty of scope to pull out all the stops with the detail and meticulously-timed revelations that make this such an unmissable watch this summer.
How to watch The Undeclared War?
For anyone who’s yet to find themselves immersed in the intense world of cyber attacks and government analysts in The Undeclared War then Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4 is the place to head if you’re a UK viewer. The hit show is a co-production between the British channel and NBCUniversal streamer Peacock and fans in the UK can enjoy each new instalment on a weekly basis as well as via Channel 4’s on demand service, All 4.
As we’ve seen increasingly often recently with fellow thrillers ITV Our House and the BBC’s Chloe, all episodes of the series can be streamed on All 4 now. This means that fans who simply can’t wait to see if the GCHQ team triumph and overcome their cyber aggressors can binge-watch their way through at their leisure. The Undeclared War will also be broadcast on Peacock for US-based viewers to enjoy, though sadly, there hasn’t been a confirmed US air-date announced yet.
But if you’re abroad when the political thriller airs then sadly you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.
🚨 This is your 3-hour warning! 🚨 #TheUndeclaredWar starts tonight at 9pm. Watch the full series on All 4 any time. @simonpegg @AdrianLester @hannahkhbr pic.twitter.com/TyzgyIhl3fJune 30, 2022
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If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:
- Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
- Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
- With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch The Undeclared War online.
The Undeclared War cast
The Undeclared War cast list:
- Simon Pegg as Daniel 'Danny' Patrick
- Adrian Lester as Andrew Makinde
- Mark Rylance as John Yeabsley
- Hannah Khalique-Brown as Saara Parvin
- Alex Jennings as David Neal
- Alfie Friedman as Gabriel Davies
- Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Kathy Freeman
Thriller and historical fiction fans alike might well recognize a fair few cast members in the Channel 4 series. Trigger Point’s Adrian Lester stars in The Undeclared War as Prime Minister Andrew Makinde who is said to have outed Boris Johnson as leader in the fictional drama.
He is joined by Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance as formerly-retired GCHQ employee John Yeabsley who’s persuaded to come out of retirement to help amid the rising cyber security crisis. Hot Fuzz and Mission Impossible star Simon Pegg plays Daniel ‘Danny’ Patrick, Head of Operations at GCHQ with Hannah Khalique-Brown in the equally significant role of Saara Parvin.
Danny’s boss David Neal is played by The Crown’s Alex Jennings and talented hacker Gabriel Davies is played by Alfie Friedman. Kissing Booth star Maisie Richardson-Sellers acts alongside them as NSA cyber analyst Kathy Freedman.
Opening up to Country & Town House (opens in new tab), Hannah Khalique-Brown discussed the show and her character, revealing, “I feel like it asks how someone extraordinary and flawed can survive being put through some of the most intense challenges, responsibilities and traumas she will ever face in a very short space of time.”
And it seems that despite the serious subject matter Simon Pegg knew how to inject some fun into the set with his colleagues.
“Even though Simon Pegg’s role in The Undeclared War is completely serious, he made us all laugh so much in between takes,” she disclosed. “Him and Alex Jennings are a very cheeky pair put together and were constantly making me crease the second they called ‘Cut!’.
Will there be a season 2 of The Undeclared War?
Ever since the first episode of The Undeclared War premiered on Channel 4 it was clear that this suspenseful and chillingly close-to-home near-future drama is a conversation-starter. And given its intriguing plotline, all-star cast and relevance in the world of increased cyber security, many will no doubt be wondering if they’ll be The Undeclared War season 2. Sadly, however, whilst things could of course change, there’s not yet been any official confirmation of the political thriller’s renewal.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily all over for The Undeclared War - as fans eager for The Tourist season 2 and to see The Responder cast return will already know. Both of these recent hits are believed to have been originally intended as standalones. But thanks to the brilliant reception and response from fans both of these dramas will be returning.
It could be that a final decision on the future of The Undeclared War is announced after the finale has aired on Channel 4 in the UK and Peacock in the US. And according to Deadline (opens in new tab), the show’s writer (and seven-time BAFTA winner, no less) Peter Kominsky took three years to fully research the series.
He was reportedly granted access to UK and US intelligence experts and with so much valuable insight gained from them, it’s likely Peter has so much amazing material and ideas to form into any potential The Undeclared War season 2. Ultimately, until an official announcement is made all fans can do is speculate and come to their own conclusions about which equally high-octane plotlines they’d like to see the show tackle if it is renewed.
The Undeclared War is available to stream on All 4 now, with episodes airing weekly on Channel 4.
Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.
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