MI6 agent Norman Darbyshire did not agree to be filmed. He did an off-the-record research interview which we recorded onto audio cassettes but refused to appear on camera. He served as a whistleblower enabling us to extract crucial information from others about Britain’s role in the coup against Mossadegh.
The transcript which we shared with Coup 53’s film makers in 2014 is of his off-the-record research interview – which he agreed to do only on condition of anonymity.
Like all our research interviews which we conducted with potential witnesses and taped, it was transcribed in the office by the production team in single space format, with typos and often abbreviated questions. Research interviews were done to help us prepare a hypothetical structure for the film and to decide who we might want to put on camera. Coup 53 maintains they are uncovering a mystery when they reveal the cut up copy of the transcript which we
left with our consultant in Paris. There is no mystery. It was cut up to help construct the narrative of our film well before we started filming.
The Darbyshire transcript is visibly that of a research interview. (unlike our film transcripts which were professionally typed.) It was typed in the production office by us, single spaced with many errors. It is not verbatim – and many questions and answers are summarised. See the original document by clicking on the photo below.
When we shared this transcript with the Observer, we anonymised it. We also removed his name when sharing the transcript of Stephen Meade with others. You can read our account of how we met and talked to Darbyshire here:
The cut up copy of the Darbyshire transcript found in Alison’s working documents in Paris was cut by Alison to piece together the story of the coup from the research interviews at an early research stage and long before filming started – a routine practice on End of Empire films.
Coup 53 erroneously claims that the transcript was of a filmed interview which had been cut up to be edited into the End of Empire Iran programme. They are wrong. Darbyshire was never filmed.
End of Empire’s filmed interview transcripts are very clearly distinguishable from research
transcripts: they are typed double spaced, professionally, every word scrupulously verbatim, no typing mistakes, roll numbers were included. Our copies sometimes show handwritten director’s notes and shot descriptions (CU, MCU).
The format of our filmed interviews is transparent in the interview filmed with Stephen Meade.