The four-part series investigates why assassination and kidnap attempts by the Iranian government against Iranian journalists living in Britain have become so prevalent, with a particular emphasis on those who have been conducting Persian-language reporting on protests in Iran since January 2022.
Award-winning investigative reporter Paul Caruana Galizia is once again the host of Londongrad, this time bringing a personal connection to the podcast; he is the son of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was assassinated in Malta in 2017.
Galizia’s interest in the story came after speaking to the lawyer that handles his mother’s international work and also represents a number of Iranian journalists working in London. She told Galizia that the number of threats against them from counter-terrorism police officers in the Iranian government had increased dramatically last year.
The first episode of the podcast, which PodPod was able to preview, combines elements of narrative story-telling from Galizia as well as first hand accounts from a number of Iranian journalists across publications like Iran International and BBC Persian who moved to London for safety.
Most of the interviews are also recorded from workplaces or in public settings like restaurants rather than in a studio, which brings a more immersive and authentic experience to the podcast.
The first and second episode of Londongrad: Iran’s Hit Squads will premiere on 2 May for Tortoise members and subscribers of the Tortoise Plus channel on Apple Podcasts, with the final two episodes released the following week. The first episode will also be available on all podcast platforms for free on 2 May and continue to release each new episode weekly.
Series one of Londongrad investigated how Russian businessmen Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev bought their way into power in Britain. The podcast received massive success and was nominated for best podcast by the Foreign Press Association in 2022.