In a groundbreaking collaboration, BAFTA-winning Rogan Productions, Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films, and GroupM Motion Entertainment are joining forces for a historical 3×60’ documentary series titled ‘Defiance,’ set to air on Channel 4.

The series, spanning three compelling hours, will delve into a dark chapter of British history, exploring the targeted violence and murders faced by Britain’s Asian community from 1976 to 1981, coinciding with the rise of National Front activity. ‘Defiance’ will shed light on pivotal events such as the Southall riots, the death of Blair Peach, the Battle for Brick Lane, and the remarkable story of the Bradford 12—events often overlooked by the press, police, and government of the time.

Utilizing a wealth of archive footage and compelling testimonies from key figures on the front lines during that tumultuous period, the documentary series will unveil the untold story of how the British Asian community decided to fight back against the injustices they faced.

Commissioned by Shaminder Nahal, Channel 4 Head of Specialist Factual, ‘Defiance’ promises to lift the lid on a critical period in recent British history. The films aim to highlight not only the violence and injustice but also the extraordinary courage displayed by those who confronted these challenges, leaving a lasting impact through the decades.

Series Directed by Satiyesh Manoharajah, Series Produced by Anoop Pandhal, and directed and produced by Rajesh Thind, the executive producers include 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 and 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 Riots, 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 filmmakers 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.”