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Mini-series explores the inner workings of Saddam Hussein's family and his relationship with his closest advisers


photocomposition DK



A wealthy-looking man is sat on a huge golden throne surrounded by well-dressed members of his family, who wouldn't look out of place in US soap Dynasty - but this is no ordinary man. This is the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as he appears in a new BBC2 drama The House of Saddam. Saddam is played by actor Yigal Naor.


BBC Drama Production announced a gripping four-part BBC Two drama series that tells the story of Iraq under Saddam Hussein's leadership, from 1979 until his downfall and subsequent execution in 2006.


The House of Saddam focuses on the lives of Saddam's closest family and an elite few. An intimate portrait of the world of Saddam's inner circle, it charts the rise and fall of one of the world's most terrifying regimes.





The promotional still released by the programme makers looks uncannily similar to a 1996 picture of the real Saddam and his family. Even down to the Dynasty-style jacket worn by Saddam's wife Sajeda. see photo below (**).


Kate Harwood, BBC Head of Drama Series & Serials, says: "This is an electrifying account of how one man used fear and violence to divide and rule both a nation and his own family. It is a bold commission for BBC Two shot in Tunisia with a truly international cast."

Co-written by BAFTA award-winning
Alex Holmes (Dunkirk) and Stephen Butchard (Vincent), House Of Saddam is a BBC/HBO co-production. Executive producers are Alex Holmes and Hilary Salmon (The Passion, Five Days, The Long Firm, Shoot The Messenger).





Key cast are as follows:


  • Igal Naor (Rendition, Munich) plays Saddam Hussein

  • Said Taghmaoui (Vantage Point, The Kite Runner, La Haine) plays Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam's half brother and the Iraqi representative to the United Nations between 1988 and 1998

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo (House Of Sand And Fog) plays Sajida Talfah, Saddam's wife

  • Christine Stephen-Daly (The Bill, Cutting It, Casualty) plays Samira Shahbandar, Saddam's mistress and second wife

  • Uri Gavriel (The Kingdom) plays Ali Hassan Al Majid, more widely known as Chemical Ali

  • Amr Waked (Syriana) plays Hussein Kamel, Saddam's nephew and son-in-law

  • Makram J Khoury (Munich, The West Wing) plays Tariq Aziz, the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

  • Philip Arditti (10 Days To War) plays Uday, Saddam's eldest son


(**) Saddam Hussein sitting with his wife Sajeda. Son Uday Hussein, centre, poses alongside family members General Hussein Kamel, left, and Saddam, second left, and daughters Ragad, third left, Rana third right, Qusy, right
photocomposition DK


The four-part drama will be shown on BBC Two this summer. House Of Saddam was commissioned by Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction. It is the latest commission from BBC Drama Production and follows in the diverse footsteps of The Passion, Cranford, The State Within and Five Days.


Given the production stills of these series,  Igal Naor's portrayal seems physically accurate and may well be less stereotypical than the catchy title seems to suggest. It may well be in the lines of Forest Whitaker Oscar Performance as the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada in Kevin Macdonald's Last King of Scotland that earned him an Oscar for Best Actor in 2007.




Authors Notes:


On HBO-BBC Series on Saddam:


(*) Previous article on the same film: Between Two Rivers: Shohreh Aghdashloo cast as Saddam's wife in HBO-BBC mini tv series By Darius KADIVAR

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About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant. He is also contributes to OCPC Magazine in LA/US and to the London Based IC Publications The Middle East Magazine and Persian Heritage Magazine.

... Payvand News - 07/06/08 ... --

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