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Duration: 1 x 52' / 72'

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Nazanin is a powerful observational documentary with unprecedented access, that takes us deep into the heart of one of the biggest human and international stories of the past 6 years. Part love story, part political thriller – Nazanin is a film with a big heart and contains a sinister warning from history.

In 2016 Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – a British-Iranian charity worker – was arrested at Tehran airport as she and her baby daughter Gabriella were flying home to London. She was separated from her child, charged with spying and thrown into Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, with a five year sentence.

Back in London, her husband Richard started a relentless public campaign to get her freed and to discover why she had been seized in the first place. His investigations lead to him uncover a massive, failed 1970s arms deal with the Shah of Iran. The British were paid £400 million up front for supplying the Iranian dictator very latest Chieftain tanks, but kept the money after the Shah fell in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Despite protestations they were doing everything they can to help Nazanin – the British government did not settle this matter and actively tried to avoid paying up -- meanwhile Iran started to take more hostages to force the issue. Despite having 3 Prime Ministers and 5 Foreign Secretaries – Nazanin remained detained in Iran for six years. In desperation Richard finally goes on a 21 day hunger strike to try and force the government’s hand.

Five years in the making, our cameras get unprecedented access to Richard and little Gabriella as they struggle to Free Nazanin and try their best to live an ordinary life. We see the personal and emotional toll this tragedy is taking on them – and on Nazanin herself. We have her heart-breaking phone calls from jail in Iran, Nazanin reading her prison letters to Gabriella and we have Facetime calls between Nazanin and her family made from Iran during the 2 year period she was under house arrest. 

We have never before seen or heard calls with the Foreign Secretary himself. And follow the frantic final three days in March 2021, as British negotiators head to Iran to try to bring Nazanin home – and the sinister Revolutionary Guards decide to have the last word. Finally we see the emotional homecoming moments as the family are reunited at long last.

This is a deeply personal and emotional portrait of an ordinary family caught up in the sinister forces of international affairs and secrets beyond their control. It is a testimony to human courage, resilience -- and the importance of fighting for love and for family.



What the Press Say:

The Times *****

The Guardian **** “...this film is a reminder that love is an incredible motivator, but anger may prove just as potent.” 

The Independent **** “...a testament to how the power of a family united in love can overcome the most appalling of hardships.” 


  • Monte-Carlo Television Festival - WINNER Jury Special Prize for Documentaries

For Channel 4

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