Inside the Real Saudi Arabia: Why I Had to Leave (BBC One/Three)

British fashion stylist Basma Khalifa returns to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 25 years, having left at the age of three, a country that is ranked as one of the most dangerous counties in the world to be a woman. After years of trying to persuade Basma to return, her aunties have finally convinced Basma that country has changed under the rule of the new Crown Prince, who has presided over the passing of new laws like allowing women to open bank accounts and drive a car.

However, days before she departs, the news breaks of the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, suggesting that the country isn’t changing as first thought. Basma attempts to integrate into the Saudi way of life and becomes frustrated with the lack of freedom she has as a woman there at first. A trip to Mecca and an up and coming underground party scene restores Basma’s faith in her native country, until one search for the truth ultimately leads to government officials putting an end to Basma’s experiment.

Inside the Real Saudi Arabia: Why I Had to Leave provides a unique and unprecedented insight into the real Saudi Arabian life through Basma’s family, allowing Basma to finally see whether she could ever move back permanently or not.

Fronted by Basma Khalifa
Filmed, Produced and Directed by Jess Kelly
Executive Producer: Miki Mistrati
Production Executive: Pete Hirst
Film Editor: Andreas Birch
Assistant Producer: Oliver Smith