Read press releases and letters about End of Empire: Iran and the controversy with COUP 53

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In 1985 Channel 4 and ITV transmitted Iran, part of the End of Empire series. It told the story, for the first time and with frank eye-witness accounts, of the 1953 Anglo-American coup against the Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh.

Statement to BAFTA members

Coup 53, potentially an excellent documentary, persists in innuendo, untruths and an unwarranted attack on the integrity of fellow film makers.

OPEN LETTER from Cate Haste to Taghi Amirani and Walter Murch

I shared the small End of Empire: Iran office with Alison Rooper and Mark Anderson, working on the parallel Egypt programme. Had you asked me, I would have told you of the thrill of excitement when Alison secured and then recorded on audio cassette the research interview with MI6 agent, Norman Darbyshire, as he described in detail the British role in the 1953 Iran coup.

Coup 53: “All this skill in service of a lie” by Mick Gold

Coup 53 was worse than I expected. The scene where Amirani talks to Alison Rooper in his office is creepy because it feels like a set-up. Alison however, conducted herself with admirable coolness. I was impressed by the way she remembered immediately that Darbyshire wasn’t filmed. I directed Rhodesia, the final film in the End of Empire series, and if someone tried to question me about interviews we researched for that programme in 1984, I wouldn’t have a clue.


Coup 53 retells the coup story in much detail but their story is wrapped round a completely false narrative – claiming that End of Empire filmed Norman Darbyshire and that the interview was cut out of an early version of the programme at MI6’s or the British Government’s request.

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