Murder in Samarkand – Now a Major TV Series 213

The Independent has an article about the new FCO sponsored Mitchell and Webb “comedy”, which was made with FCO co-operation and is openly an attempt to bolster its image – and to make light of, and acceptable, the disgraceful British alliance with the dictator of Uzbekistan.  The argument that this series is based on – and is an attempt to counter the effect of – Murder in Samarkand – is overwhelming.

Not least because the producers of  Ambassadors, Big Talk, attempted to buy the rights to Murder in Samarkand.  They invited me to, and I attended, a meeting in their offices and they had several copies of Murder in Samarkand in their office.  They also had access to the original unpublished (and much longer) manuscript of the book, under its original title Should Not Be Known.   For them to pretend their “Tazbekistan” comedy is unrelated does not just make them lying bastards, it is ludicrous.

I did get solicitors to write both to Big Talk and to the BBC, but unfortunately the lawyers wanted money amounting to tens of thousands to apply for a copyright injunction, and I just don’t have it.

The Independent article takes the opportunity to recycle ten year old slurs against me by the FCO, without mentioning that they were disproven.

I wonder if one of my talented commenters could design an online “poster” for Murder in Samarkand, showing the book, Mitchell and Webb or the Ambassadors logo, and the slogan “Murder in Samarkand – Now a Major TV Series”.  Then we can get it everywhere we can on the web, and the bastards can try and sue me!  That would turn the tables nicely.

The other extraordinary thing in the Independent article is the contention that New Labour had an ethical foreign policy, as though the tabloid humiliation and marginalisation of Robin Cook- and the dodgy dossier and invasion of Iraq –  had never happened.


Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

213 thoughts on “Murder in Samarkand – Now a Major TV Series

1 2 3 8
  • anon

    Given what the Independent says about the script and the FCO it would seem to be fairly safe to say the programme will not be based on “Murder in Samarkand”. I not sure that a libel action for breach of copyright from something that is the antithesis of Craig’s book would stand much chance of success. Might be better to have a poster advertising the book saying it is not based on the Ambassadors or similar – Waterstones and co are always looking for tie ins – a this is not the book of the series tagline could be quite effective. My advice to Craig would not to get mad but get even.

  • John Goss

    I wish the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, instead of indulging in comedy, would concentrate on what it is there to do. I am still waiting for a response to questions raised in June in an FOI about Talha Ahsan’s treatment. After writing to the Prime Minister’s Office about the delay I was contacted by an official who told me that the FCO did not operate a policy of racism/religionism and Talha and his family got the same rights as any other UK citizen held in US custody. Talha is in a cell no bigger than a reasonably-sized bathroom, with a small window, 23 hours a day (24 hours when there is a lockdown). This is the same kind of treatment prisoners on death-row get. He suffers from Asberger Syndrome. So on Saturday I asked his brother Hamja what this support amounted to. He gets one visit a year from an FCO representative.

    So instead of addressing important issues they choose to open their doors to comedy programme-makers. The FCO is farcical. It is run by buffoons, cardboard cutouts of Bertie Wooster. It has made itself a laughing-stock! “Can Mitchell and Webb comedy help FCO improve its image?” Will anyone ever take it seriously again?

  • Jives


    So basically the subtext of one episode is whether or not to jeopardise a UK helicopter contract by raising a human rights issue with dictators who routinely boil people alive,rape,murder and torture.

    Clearly the FCO thought this has some comedic or satirical value.That speaks volumes about them.

    And Mitchell and Webb now working for the Establishment.Way to go boys,way to go.

    Like i said:

    Bastards all,complete and utter inhumane bastards.

  • Iain Orr

    Craig – An excellent strategy to call them out. Any value in getting an item into Private Eye’s “Street of Shame” page? The decline in the Independent’s standards of journalism is sad to see, but not surprising in a topsy-turvy world. What’s needed is “The World Turned Upside Down” – here are the Billy Bragg lyrics:

    In a different vein, you might enjoy this graphic explanation of Washington’s bipartisan politics:

  • Mary

    Good gracious Craig. I thought that had died a death. It is yet more of the disgraceful ‘output’ of propaganda from the state’s broadcaster. None of its employees have an ounce of your courage.

    What is Lebedev’s interest in sponsoring it?

    PS I remember the Kenton Allen stuff.

    PPS Why has Mitchell got the run of the BBC? He is always on and I find him totally unfunny and very pleased with himself.

  • Wikispooks

    …. The FCO is farcical. It is run by buffoons, cardboard cutouts of Bertie Wooster.

    To which you might have added something like: “likewise the Home Office [aka the Orwellian sounding ‘Ministry of Justice’ as it is now known] in their truly pathetic, fawning subservience to their US State Department superiors

    The treatment of Babar Ahmad is another – and perhaps the most egregious – example to date, of just how fraudulent, nasty, incompetent (pick your adjective because there are plenty more) officialdom in this country has become where ANY suspicion of a connection to the dreaded and supremely phoney ‘war on terror’ is involved.

    Severely beaten up by London’s finest, released, paid £60K compensation to avoid airing details of police thuggishness in court, then re-arrested and held in Max security prisons for 10 years and counting. Extradited to the US on allegations that our own DPP declined to prosecute. The guy had never set foot in the US but, because his web-site was hosted in the US, the US claim jurisdiction and our apologies for politicians just roll-over (Found the balls to decline extradition to Garry Mackinnon though – white and not Muslim so deserving of something different). 50+ years in a US Max security prison beckons and he hasn’t seen any of his children for 10 years – That’s so-called “British justice” for you.

  • Komodo

    What Anon said, surprisingly enough. They have access to the publicity – you use it!

    Not that Mitchell and Webb were ever (a)that radical or (b) that funny. Get on it before it sinks without trace. I like the idea of the FCO sponsoring played-out comedians, though. Doesn’t it have any of its own?

  • John Goss

    Wikispooks, your web-page on Babar Ahmad needs updating. It finishes at the most crucial moment when the four policemen who beat up Babar were about to appear at Southwark Crown Court. They did appear, and although they had previously been found guilty in a civil action in which Babar was awarded £60,000, they were remarkably acquitted, though the judge, Geoffrey Riflin Q.C. must have known of the successful private prosecution. Riflin retired the next week showing that the case was tried not in court but in a Gentleman’s club or masonic lodge. Someone should appeal on Babar’s behalf to Dominic Grieve who has made himself quite popular by overturning some judgments.

  • MC

    Firstly, I like the suggestion of using the BBC show to plug Craig’s book. I have to say that I find Mitchell and Webb funny, both as a duo and individually, and having David Mitchell on the BBC is preferable to some of the other ‘talent’ belonging to the corporation.

    Mary, I don’t think there is any recourse to referring to lawyers as “parasites”. It is a demanding profession and the vast majority of solicitors and barristers do not earn the sorts of salaries which many members of the public crudely assume.

  • anon


    You forgot one little fact the policemen were acquitted by a jury not the judge. It is also normal practice not to refer to any previous civil cases or convictions in any criminal case so as the jury are not prejudiced in their deliberations on the case in hand. You should also note that the levels of proof in criminal cases are quite rightly higher than in civil ones, where the guilty party can be deprived of their liberty. If you want to criticise the British legal system might I suggest that you first have some understanding as to how it works – and why little matters like jury trials and the burden of proof are of critical importance.

    Quite what all this has to do with this thread is beyond me – perhaps Craig should charge you a fee for allowing you to post your ramblings.

  • Wikispooks


    your web-page on Babar Ahmad needs updating

    Yes I know. Problem is there are over 7,000 Wikipedia-like pages on Wikispooks and I simply do not have the time to update them all – much less put up the new stuff that is crying out for exposure.

    You’re welcome to have a go yourself – as is anyone else who can honestly get past this and this

  • Jemand


    Can’t you find a lawyer to work pro bono or on contingency? I’d keep up the legal pressure as cheap as possible to ensure that the producers cannot suggest that you have abandoned your claims against them.

  • Jemand

    Yeah, I don’t recommend referring to lawyers as “parasites” before engaging their services.

  • MC

    Mary, I disagree. I work closely with a range of people in the legal profession and the salaries fluctuate wildly depending on size of firm or chambers, type of cases, caseload and location in the UK. A blanket supposition of a parasitic nature based upon your personal knowledge of fees may not stand up to reality.

  • technicolour

    Another word for lawyers – I’m thinking of the excellent Bindmans, who often work pro bono, for example, and of those who represent the people generally.

  • Komodo

    I’d be inclined to see what the series looks like before going any further. One synopsis I found indicates that the issue of pimping British exports to a country with zero human rights does not go unexamined, at least. Might you ask for an advance copy?

  • OT

    Who is this poster “Anon”, within twenty new postings “it” has picked on two posters John Goss and Mary. It may be the owner of the blog in which case I defer? Or is it a standard hasbara troll that gets paid to police blogs to stamp out “non conformist narrative”, if so the mod has to immediately ban it.

  • Richard

    Aren’t right-on, lefty, lovvie comics wonderful! One day some of them might even pay their taxes.

    In any event, you have my sympathy. At least this medium exists these days and you can get your side of the story out to those who are interested and who don’t take everything the beeb pours down their throats (“factual” or “dramatic” – ie. factual by implication; by sublimation) as gospel. Not much compensation, perhaps, but better than nothing.

    Anyway, I’ve always fancied reading ‘Murder in Samarkand’ but held off buying it because I was unemployed. This post has come when I am ten days into a new job and suddenly flush. You’ve got a sale.

    Ps. Just failed to post the above after getting the captcha sum wrong. It was blank – two = four. I entered ‘2’. Now I know why I was unemployed for so long. Duh!

  • anon

    Who is this poster OT who is trolling me for not being “on message” rather than addressing any of the matters I raised in my 3 posts or Craig’s post? I will resist going down the same Stalinist path and asking for the creature to be banned.

    If Mary wishes to ignore my polite question then that is her prerogative.

  • Mary

    Rest assured Anon that OT’s posts are not mine.

    You are not the slightest bit interested in what I find funny so don’t pretend that you are.

  • Passerby

    OT observed

    is it a standard hasbara troll that gets paid to police blogs to stamp out “non conformist narrative”, if so the mod has to immediately ban it.

    Unfortunately due to factors as yet unknown/secret/we are not privy to, there seems to be a high threshold of tolerance for certain disruptive elements around here ie the hasbara agents considering these to have no media monopoly! Take a gander at these, taken from one thread/topic;

    In case you suspect a conspiracy, Mary, please don’t be shy.

    Keep count of the Cuckoos nesting here!

    simply not be deterred to being counted as a cuckoo

    well it wouldn’t take much to pierce you would it you pompous windbag. Just fuck off for once, there’s a good chap.

    Big deal you tin-foil-hatted fucking morons.

    If you’re idiotic enough to think this is

    Now bugger-off you empty-condom eunuch.

    8,540 results Which can be safely projected to be 7857 incidents of insults to the other participants, and yet this conduct has been tolerated for some time.

    Based on the above, don’t hold your breath for any miracles for you to be left unmolested to get on with your debate or reading the others views without getting disrupted and disturbed by the assigned cyber irgun brigade, to mess up this blog, as they do with the other places to stop any kind of meaningful transactions from a new and fresh perspectives.

  • anon

    “You are not the slightest bit interested in what I find funny so don’t pretend that you are.”

    Just not true – the more we can put in the files the more we get paid!

  • Passerby

    Mark Golding, that is quite a nice poster, well done. One question, the photographs have they been changed enough not to cause any potential copyright squabbles, and shenanigans of the ne’er-do-wells?

  • anon

    One question, the photographs have they been changed enough not to cause any potential copyright squabbles, and shenanigans of the ne’er-do-wells?

    I very much doubt it – but I think that may be the intention as Craig appears to be pretty keen to get his day in court without having to pay lawyers beforehand.

1 2 3 8

Comments are closed.