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Mixed views on new Lockerbie TV drama

By Fiona Reid
Mixed views on new Lockerbie TV drama

FILMING will get underway later this year on a new six part ‘factual drama’ based on the 1988 Lockerbie disaster.

And the makers have promised they will take ‘great care’ telling the story of the town’s darkest night.

The BBC and Netflix have commissioned World Productions to make ‘Lockerbie’, about the real events surrounding the bombing of Pan Am 103 and the joint Scots-US investigation which sought to bring the perpetrators to justice.

It will initially air on BBC One and iPlayer, followed by Netflix in the UK and globally.

The show will be produced by Julia Stannard and directed by Michael Keillor. The lead writer is acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Jonathan Lee, with two episodes written by Scottish screenwriter Gillian Roger Park.

However, the project was initiated by filmmaker Adam Morane-Griffiths, whose carried out extensive interviews with Scottish police officers and representatives from American investigative agencies, many of whom have never previously shared their stories.

He will be executive producer and said: “I’ve been working on this project for seven years, so it’s very dear to my heart.

“The investigation was extraordinary, as was the trial, and I’m beyond excited to work with such incredible partners bringing it to life.”

‘Lockerbie’ will focus on the investigation into the crash on both sides of the Atlantic and the devastating effect it had on the town and the victims’ families.

From the initial exhaustive search for evidence on the ground in Scotland, via the US and Malta to the trial at Camp Zeist in 2000, the drama will take viewers right up to the most recent indictment at the end of 2022.

Filming will take place in Scotland, Malta and Toronto, but reassurances have been given that there will be no recreations in the Lockerbie area of the tragic scenes which occurred.

“It’s a privilege to write this story for the screen,” said writer Jonathan Lee. “The Pan Am 103 Disaster and the global manhunt it spawned was a defining event in world history – one that contains so many instances of resilience and courage that deserve to be honoured and understood.”

Gaynor Holmes, commissioning editor at the BBC, added: “The tragic events which took place that night continue to have an impact on our country and in particular the Lockerbie community. It was an atrocity which shocked the world and changed lives forever.

“We have the right team in place to tell this extraordinary story with the greatest of care, making sure the series reflects the devastating events of that night, the complex and far-reaching investigation that followed and the effect it had on all those who lost loved ones.”

And Mona Qureshi at Netflix described it as “a true story that feels as raw and urgent as ever.”

Meanwhile, news of the drama this week elicited a mixed response among Annandale Herald readers on Facebook.

Ann Gilmour, Lynda Brownlee, Anne Garrett and Gordon Burgess said they would not be tuning in, with Bill Allison adding: “I don’t see the need for a film like this, it’s in bad taste due to how recent it was.”

But Susan Massey said: “Things like this are produced on a regular basis, the only difference is that this will be sensitive to us, just like other productions are sensitive to others.”

And Cammy Lauder added: “No doubt it’ll be the usual ‘based on real events’ and ‘some characters and scenes have been created for dramatic effect’ type of factual drama. We’ll all watch it then probably criticise it for eternity.”

Annan and Eskdale

24th May

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