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Channel 4 explores British Asian civil rights movement in new documentary

Channel 4 has commissioned a 3-hour documentary series looking at how the British Asian community was targeted with a campaign of violence and murder between 1976 and 1981.

Defiance (working title) is being made by Rogan Productions (Uprising, Freddie Mercury: The Final Act), Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films (The Long Goodbye, Flee) and GroupM Motion Entertainment.

Across the series, it will explore seminal events ranging from the Southall riots, the death of Blair Peach, the Battle for Brick Lane and the story of the Bradford 12.

It will use use archive footage and new testimony from key figures on the front line at the time and see what happened when the British Asian community decided to fight back.   

 “The British Asian civil rights movement is a forgotten piece of history. The Southall Riots, the death of Blair Peach, and the story of the Bradford 12 all continue to shape Britain,” said Riz Ahmed and Allie Moore of Left Handed Films.

“These are stories of bravery in the face of violence, and a refusal to let prejudice go unchallenged – they could not be more timely. We’re excited to be working with an incredible team to grip audiences and stretch our idea of who the United Kingdom is as a nation.”

Defiance was commissioned by Shaminder Nahal, Channel 4 Head of Specialist Factual. The Series Director is Satiyesh Manoharajah, Series Producer Anoop Pandhal and they will be  directed and produced by Rajesh Thind 

“I couldn’t be more excited to have been able to commission this series, which feels like it will be the first of its kind,” said Nahal.

“At a moment when we have a British Asian Prime Minister, and an Asian First Minister in Scotland, it is incredibly powerful to be able to tell the stories of everyday British Asians fighting to make their way in this country and to be heard. It’s a huge privilege to be working with Rogan Productions, Riz Ahmed and Left Handed Films, and the GroupM Motion Entertainment on this uniquely Channel 4 project – I’m hoping that all together we will create something that feels like a bolt of energy, making us stop and think, and change perceptions.”   

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