Show creator Peter Kosminsky spent 18 months investigating life in Syria, before production for The State began.

A large group of academics, from Muslim backgrounds, also worked as consultants. 

It's a fictional story, based on fact.

The lives and experiences of the characters stem from extensive research and real-life stories. 

Shakira (played by Ony Uhiara), is a doctor who specialises in emergency medicine. She flees England with her 9-year-old son Isaac in tow, hoping to help the wounded soldiers fighting for the new world.

However, she soon discovers that working in the hospital is not a decision she can make for herself, regardless of her skills and determination. It hinges on the status of her husband, one of which she doesn’t have. 

This, plus the brutality she witnesses, and the changes she starts to see in her son, make Shakira question her beliefs. 

Jalal (played by Sam Otto) is of Pakistani descent, raised in London. He follows in the footsteps of his older brother (to the heartbreak of his parents), who gave his life to ISIS. 

Intelligent and brave, Jalal quickly rises through the ranks in Syria. But his kind heart could be his downfall, and he learns something that ultimately makes him question his whole rationale.  

Ushna (played by Shavani Cameron) has a preconceived idea about the glamours of serving The State. 

Her initial goal is to marry an ISIS fighter, thereby fulfilling what she sees as her religious duty. 

Timid and homesick, Ushna’s fairy tale vision is shattered soon after arriving in Syria, and her lack of Arabic understanding sees her struggle. 

Ziyaad (played by Ryan McKen) is a glory hunter.

A close friend of Jalal’s from back home, Ziyaad feels an instant connection to the camaraderie and excitement of ISIS.

A skilled fighter, and a straight-talker, he’s readily accepted by the other brothers of The State.

But as the weeks go by, he sinks further into himself, and even Jalal may not be able to save him.

The State might not answer the question as to why so many young Brits convert to Jihadism, but it provides a fascinating insight all the same.

You can stream the full season right here, from Thursday 1 February.

The runaways arrive at the Syrian border.
Ony Uhiara as Shakira.
Sam Otto as Jalal.
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