Who We Are:
We are some of the team behind Granada TV’s 14 part series End of Empire. (Brian Lapping executive producer, Norma Percy, producer, Mark Anderson, producer/director, Alison Rooper, researcher). The series, shown in 1985, chronicled the last days of British rule around the globe, through revealing testimony from both colonisers and the colonised. It was the brainchild of Brian Lapping who wrote the accompanying book “End of Empire”.
End of Empire: Iran, made by Mark and Alison, was the first documentary to reveal MI6’s role in the 1953 coup that removed Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. We conducted hundreds of hours of research, including dozens of interviews, both on and off the record, with top British officials involved in the coup. Coming some thirty years after the coup, these were mainly retired men who were still in the mindset of the 1950s and proud of their role as servants of the British State. They reflected the prevailing attitudes of Britain’s ruling elites towards the empire, and justified Britain’s refusal to relinquish control of Iran’s oil. They were flattered to be asked to be interviewed for British television (which in those days consisted of just four channels) and wanted recognition for their part in history. British officials today would be more cautious about expressing such shocking attitudes though the legacy of empire lives on in UK politics even now.
Lapping and Percy have produced many award winning documentary series since then following the methods developed in End of Empire: a combination of archive footage and the testimony of key players who witnessed or who were responsible for the big decisions that shaped history.
Correcting false and misleading claims in Coup53.
In 2020, Amirani Media released Coup53, a documentary about the MI6 and CIA-led coup to removed democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran. While Coup53 represents an admirable attempt at telling a story that needs to be told, its plot is littered with untrue assertions about our documentary End of Empire: Iran, released over 35 years ago. The most egregious of these is Coup53’s accusation that we were complicit in censorship of a filmed interview with MI6 agent Norman Darbyshire, who was instrumental in the coup.
We conducted an off the record, voice-recorded interview with Darbyshire as part of our preliminary research for End of Empire: Iran. However, Darbyshire never agreed to be filmed or provide his words on-record for our use. Therefore we used his testimony to inform our film and the interviews conducted with associates of his. We willingly shared the Darbyshire transcript with Amirani Media for use in his film, although this is not acknowledged.
Here you will be able to find content from our research on the 1953 coup in Iran, as well as responses to the false claims in Coup53 by Amirani Media.