North Korea threatens Britain over 'mud-slinging' Channel 4 thriller focusing on Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons programme

The nation is outraged by plans to air fictional series Opposite Number

Jess Denham
Tuesday 02 September 2014 16:53
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is angry at planned Channel 4 drama Opposite Number
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is angry at planned Channel 4 drama Opposite Number

North Korea has threatened to cut diplomatic ties if a forthcoming Channel 4 drama focusing on their nuclear weapons programme is allowed to air.

The country has branded political thriller Opposite Number a “slanderous, conspiratorial charade based on a sheer lie” and insisted through its state media that the British government ensure it is “dumped without delay”.

London’s Foreign and Commonwealth office remains unbothered by the demand, explaining that Channel 4 is responsible for its own programming schedule.

“British media is editorially independent of the British government, and as such we would not be involved in the development or production of programmes,” a spokesperson said.

Ten “nail-biting, action-packed” episodes will follow the fictional life of a British nuclear scientist, who is kidnapped in North Korea and forced to help weaponise their nuclear technology.

An official Channel 4 synopsis reveals that CIA and MI6 agents are “secretly deployed on the ground” in capital city Pyongyang as “the clock ticks on a global-scaled nuclear crisis”.

Matt Charman, the pen behind an upcoming Cold War spy thriller starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg, has written the script.

“North Korea is one of the last truly impenetrable nations on the planet and one of the most dangerous for the West,” said Charman.

“I wanted to write a drama that could blow the lid off our understanding of who we think the North Korean people are and what their government truly wants.”

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Given the green light last month, Opposite Number is yet to be given a broadcast date.

North Korea issued another furious statement in response to Seth Rogan and James Franco’s comedy The Interview when its released was announced in June.

The storyline, about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was described as a “wanton act of terror” by the controversial nation and US president Barack Obama was called upon to intervene.

Columbia Pictures has pushed the released date back and is believed to be toning down some of the scenes, including one that sees Jong-un’s face melt.

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