Gabriel Byrne is to take the role of Tom Dawkins a reluctant hero at the heart of Channel 4’s new contemporary conspiracy thriller, Secret State.

Dawkins finds himself thrust into the spotlight of front-line politics when he least expects it and risks everything by taking on the might of the Establishment.

The storyline sees a devastating industrial accident on Teesside which leaves several people dead and raises awkward questions about the safety procedures of the US petrochemical company involved.

As a man who has a profound belief in transparency and open government, Dawkins will have to tackle vested interests, financial and military, both domestic and international, in his pursuit to uncover the truth and get justice for the families affected by the disaster.

Along the way, he will struggle to keep his party onside and the electorate behind him, as he also weathers damaging revelations about his personal life. And as the investigation into the Teesside disaster proceeds, Dawkins becomes aware of the Establishment’s secret ties to the petrochemical company and comes to realise that there are bigger powers at play behind the scenes.

Douglas Hodge, Gina McKee, Charles Dance, Rupert Graves and Ruth Negga also star in the four-part drama written by Robert Jones. Channel 4 say the drama will air in summer 2013.

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