BBC Four checks-in to Hotel Taliban

South Riding actor Douglas Henshall is to portray award-winning journalist Sean Langan in factual drama Hotel Taliban.

The story brings to screens the drama of Langan’s kidnapping by the Taliban in 2008. The BBC describes the production as a “gripping and intense single drama” which has been co-written by Norman Hull and Sean Langan.

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, says: “It’s a mad, mad, mad world – that’s the sentiment I got when Sean Langan told me of his astonishing three-and-a-half month kidnapping by the Taliban. Not just terrifying, though it truly was, but also absurd, moving and funny: Sean’s story is really a story of our times, how a journalist obsessed with getting his story finds himself instead locked in a game of words with captors who have as far removed a view of the Western world as Martians. And yet what Sean discovered was that these people were in many ways just like him. Hotel Taliban tells a gripping, terrifying and thrilling story that has a happy ending, thank goodness.”

Hotel Taliban has already started production for transmission on BBC Four in 2012, and will dramatise the events as told in Sean’s diaries, as well as Sean’s testimony to the film producers in which he described the ordeal he and his interpreter Sami went through during their three-and-a-half months in captivity.

Cast include EastEnders’ Jimi Mistry as Sami, Crossroads’ Ramon Tikaram as Mr C; and New Tricks’ Kate Ashfield as Anabel Langan

“In early 2008, documentary filmmaker Sean Langan was ready for his next assignment – to gain access to the Taliban training camps in the tribal areas of Pakistan, despite being a no-go zone for foreign journalists. After months negotiating access to key Taliban leaders via his fixer, Sami, Sean crossed the border into Pakistan. But things didn’t go to plan. Kidnapped and accused of being a spy, Sean and Sami were held hostage for three-and-a-half months, awaiting their fate – death or release. During his captivity, Sean’s survival instinct found him befriending the family holding him hostage, and from a difficult and dangerous situation, Sean discovered a central common humanity, as well as bizarre moments of cultural misunderstanding.” The BBC say.