Channel 4 commissions a major three-part documentary series, Defiance (w/t) from Rogan Productions, Left Handed Films and GroupM Motion Entertainment

Category: News Release

BAFTA – winning Rogan Productions (Uprising, Freddie Mercury: The Final Act), Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films (The Long Goodbye, Flee) and GroupM Motion Entertainment are working in collaboration for landmark historical 3x60’ documentary series ‘Defiance’ for Channel 4. 

Across three compelling hours, ‘Defiance’ is set to examine how Britain’s Asian community was targeted with a campaign of violence and murder between 1976 and 1981, as National Front activity became increasingly prominent. The series investigates seminal events ranging from the Southall protests, the death of Blair Peach, the Battle for Brick Lane and the extraordinary story of the Bradford 12 - events which were often overlooked by the press, the police and the government. Through a cache of archive footage and compelling new testimony from key figures on the front line at the time, the ground-breaking documentary series will show what happened when the British Asian community decided to fight back.   

These timely films will lift the lid on a period in recent British history, in which the violence, injustice – as well as the extraordinary courage of those who confronted it – resonates through the decades.

Defiance was commissioned by Shaminder Nahal, Channel 4 Head of Specialist Factual. 

The 3x60’ films will be Series Directed by Satiyesh Manoharajah and Series Produced by Anoop Pandhal.

The series will be executive produced by James Rogan, Nancy Bornat and Soleta Rogan for Rogan Productions, Riz Ahmed and Allie Moore for Left Handed Films and Deep Sehgal for GroupM Motion Entertainment.

Head of Specialist Factual for Channel 4, Shaminder Nahal said: “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. 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.”   

Executive Producer for Rogan Productions James Rogan said: “A comprehensive telling of the extraordinary experiences of a generation of Asian refugees and migrants who came to Britain and faced unprecedented wave of racial violence, stood their ground and turned the tide, is long overdue. In the hands of a brilliant creative team, this will be a landmark documentary packed with jaw-dropping stories and thrilling tales of resistance, breaking new ground on stories long overlooked forgotten.”

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

Executive Producer for GroupM Motion Entertainment Deep Sehgal said: “Defiance tells an incredibly important, moving and powerful story - and the film-makers at Rogan have done this with great integrity. GroupM Motion Entertainment are very proud to have supported them in partnership with Channel 4 and it’s a perfect example of how our Diverse Indies Fund can help bring story-telling of the highest calibre to the screen.”


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Founded in 2013, Rogan Productions has fast become a world leader in the field of high-end, global documentary. Led by James and Soleta Rogan and supported by some of the best talent in the documentary industry, Rogan has won and been nominated for over 40 major awards in the past 5 years alone.

Recent credits include the BAFTA award-winning series Uprising, BAFTA-nominated Freddie Mercury: The Final Act and BAFTA-nominated, Realscreen award-winning series Putin: A Russian Spy Story. Rogan Productions recently released the landmark biopic Becoming Frida Kahlo for BBC Arts to critical acclaim and the widely-lauded Rose Ayling Ellis: Signs For Change for BBC One.


Left Handed Films is the production company started by Riz Ahmed, focused on stretching culture through telling fresh stories in bold ways.

The company won an Academy Award for The Long Goodbye for Best Short Film and made history with Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee, which was the first movie to earn Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature, Documentary Feature and International Feature. Their most recent film, Mogul Mowgli, directed by an exciting new voice in Bassam Tariq, won the Fipresci International Critics’ Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, was nominated for a BAFTA Award for ‘Best British Film’, and received six British Independent Film Awards nominations, with the film taking home ‘Best Debut Screenwriter’ for Ahmed and ‘Best Music’.

 Left Handed Films has a wide-ranging slate of upcoming projects including an adaptation of Exit West for Netflix in partnership with the Obamas’ Higher Ground Pro- ductions and Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO, a reimagining of Hamlet, and the comedy series The Son of Good Fortune for Amazon alongside Lulu Wang’s Local Time.


GroupM Motion Entertainment funds, develops, produces, and distributes premium television, digital content, and award-winning programming around the globe in partnership with the world’s leading producers, talent, networks, and platforms. Through innovative commercial and creative partnerships Motion works alongside GroupM agencies to produce original brand-funded content and unique entertainment partnerships that create value and help clients play a positive and active role in culture. The company has co-produced over 1,800 series, equating to over 26,000 hours of television across all programming genres. Motion currently operates in 44 countries worldwide with headquarters in London and Los Angeles. GroupM Motion Entertainment is part of GroupM, a WPP company