Monday, 30 May 2011

A review of Lockerbie - Unfinished Business at Langholm

[I am grateful to journalist Carol Hogarth for allowing me to post this review of the Langholm performance of David Benson's play:]

Having been in the audience for David Benson's play at the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm last night, and knowing others who saw it at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries last week, I just wanted to let you both know how well it has been received in this area. Last night's audience ... was gripped and visibly moved by what they saw and heard, and the Q&A and discussion after the interval could have gone on all night.

Some fascinating stories and information came from the audience. I know there are many in this area who are reluctant to talk about the disaster now, but clearly there are still some who feel willing and able to.

Even for someone like me who, as a local journalist, has tried to follow the story closely for more than 20 years, seeing and hearing the evidence presented in such a clear and compelling manner was extremely thought provoking. Benson's skill at having balanced the heavy weight history with the truly personal is an incredible achievement.

I wish I'd seen more local politicians and media representatives in the audience - or perhaps they all saw it in Edinburgh last summer, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt!


  1. It sounds as if a performance of this play should be filmed for viewing by a wider audience.

  2. I guess that David Benson's performance of the play will already have been filmed. The Question and Answer session after each performance probably merits a separate audio recording at least.

    I'll ask the play's director (and Facebook friend), Hannah Eidinow, whether such recordings exist!

  3. I was meant to be at Dumfries but due to transport probs I didn't make it. According to David Benson he intends to take the play to many places yet.

    The reviews after Edinburgh were superb and there were many articles throughout the press about the play and what was behind it all. Shame then that having said so much about the issue that was promsing the media as a body still won't challenge on the truth about Lockerbie.

  4. It is good - very good - to hear that this has happened and that the flicker of truth and honest enquiry continues to burn.

    O/T but I hope not unrelated to this travesty and other more current legal events whereby the judiciaries of Wales & England (sic) England's "'Supreme' Court" has re-found its virgin sense of "justice" in connection with Human Rights and in contradiction to its predecessors contempt of such notions, pace Cromwell's Usurpation, as well as the historically grounded brutish imperfections of "The Law" anent and across all legal traditions - bullshiterie aside - not offer genuine reason for the gutting of the legal profession as it stands in Scotland - without throwing out the baby with the bathwater; a unilateral assertion of independence from the Anglo-Welsh judiciary on all fronts; and the establishment of direct lines of appeal to the relevant international courts (with Scots lawyers appropriately and internationally trained and educated both in domestic legal traditions and best international ones)?

    Faint hope? One should not have thought so pre-current hacks who have mimicked - and do still ape - their predecessor parcel of tumshy appareled rogues.

  5. I do wish that I had managed to catch this play at Langholm the other night.

    From what I have heard from various sources so far, "Lockerbie - Unfinished Business" seems both Informative & Thought Provoking.

    It would be great if this play could get more exposure! ... I'm sure some of Our Politicians would just love that!

    Art like this can Instruct, Illuminate, Provoke Thought, Action and Hopefully Prevent Anything like this ever happening again!

    I believe that the Lockerbie Case is crying out to be made into A Feature Film*. ... But only if it is approached with Intelligence & Sensitivity.


    * Related Material Below


    ATTN: Mr. Ludwig De Braeckeleer

    Dear Mr. De Braeckeleer,

    I stumbled on this article of yours - (Dated 02 May 2008) - today.

    I am curious as to whether you have heard anything recently about
    this proposed Spielberg "Lockerbie" Project?

    Personally speaking, I do not believe that Spielberg is the right choice as Director for this project. For me this is Oliver Stone - (at His Best) - Territory.

    If a Serious Film is to be made about the Lockerbie Tragedy, then I believe it should attempt to address and illuminate some of the Underhand Actions - Corporate & Political - that clearly took place around this event - Before & After. ... That should be where the focus lies.

    It would be both Irresponsible & A Gross Insult to The People of Lockerbie if A Film on This Subject turned out to be just Another Mediocre Blockbuster Action Flick.

    I'd be interested to hear Your Current Thoughts on this.

    Best Regards,

    Mark Gilvary

  6. Mark it got massive exposure last year via its appearance at the Edinburgh Festival. Even English papers covered it both in their Review sections and in separate articles. It was widely covered in Scotland too and in other countries because so many tourists saw it in Edinburgh.

    No one denies something stinks: sadly the media as a body refuses to challenge on the matter. Politicians in fact don't care much: they have confirmed that repeatedly.

    Elsewhere we have a formal report by the independent Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission which raised six grounds to suggest a miscarriage of justice had occurred at Megrahi's trial.

    The Scottish Judiciary delayed the hearing of the appeal repeatedly. The UK government refused to release certain evidence related to Megrahi's case. The Scottish government fell in behind the UK government in ensuring the truth stayed buried. Salmond and MacAskill both, several times, declared the original verdict sound knowing as they did so that such declations by either of them were absurd given the case being put by the SCCRC. But then MacAskill had already added clauses to that report which prevented the SCCRC from publishing it.

    We don't need a movie and, forgive me, we don't need Speilberg either, or Stone. The US government's role in the deception would have to take centre stage after all. How many movies are there about who really killed the Kennedy's or Martin Luther King? What good did that do? So we don't need movies about Lockerbie.

    In recent weeks in its latest dodgy war certain people in the US have expressed the hope that they will find Megrahi in Libya and take him back to the US to stand trial all over again despite the fact that Megrahi, who is free on licence, is still Scotland's prisoner. As the US along with the UK continues its "regime change" (which is illegal) in Libya who know how long we have. We really don't have time to make movies.

    Mr Salmond has pledged to get the SCCRC report published. That is as a result of pressure being brought by groups like JFM and their petition last year which people were so eager to sign that the web site crashed. We must keep that pressure on. That is the only way forward.

  7. "Art like this can Instruct, Illuminate, Provoke Thought, Action and Hopefully Prevent Anything like this ever happening again!"

    Mark, it isn't an art project I want either. I don't want to think nothing like this will happen again. I want the wrongs at Lockerbie righted and justice done.

    Everything we already know about Lockerbie, about the trial, already provokes thought. Tens of thousands of words have been written about it. It is being ignored. The thought processes have been gone through.

    I will say again there is a formal report, written by the SCCRC, an independent group within the Scottish Justice System which needs to be made public. They went through thought processes too for more than 4 years. Their report is the end result. It has to be published.

  8. Crikey, in a world that already contains everything from The Maltese Double Cross to Lockerbie Revisited, and approximately none of the gazillion efforts is completely accurate or makes complete sense, the very last think we need is a feature film which would undoubtedly merely promote further conspiracy theorising.

  9. How is it you can say in ten words what I take 3 thousand to say Rolfe! : )

  10. Blimey, you are probably the first and the last person ever to accuse me of being concise!

    And I spy a typo in my post, just to make things worse.

  11. ATTN: Jo G & Rolfe

    "... Whether You Like It Or Not ... Even In The World Of Blogs & OnLine Petitions ... A Film Is Still A Potent Force When It Is Executed Correctly By An Uncompromising Filmmaker!!!"

  12. And who defines "correctly", that is the question.

  13. Mark, forgive me, but American involvement last year in Scottish affairs when they attempted to "correctly" call before them the Scottish Government to answer to them for releasing Megrahi proved conclusively that they are not to be trusted with anything important. The conduct of the United States over the Lockerbie affair says it all. They BRIBED two witnesses to the tune of millions of dollars for testimony and the court was not told of the vast sums which would change hands once the Gaucis had served their purpose. Their PRESIDENT was in this up to his neck along with our own Thatcher at the time.

    I am not saying blogs and on line petitions are the answer. We have a formal report by the SCCRC which demands publication and when that happens nothing will stop what will follow. That can be achieved without a movie. As I said, we don't have time for all that nonsense.

  14. Jo!

    You seem to be of the opinion that I am somehow 100% Pro American. ... Not at all. ... Nor am I 100% Pro British either.

    It's obvious that you are steadfast in your belief that a feature film on this subject would be of no value whatsoever. That is your viewpoint, which of course you are entitled to.

    I do hope that the formal report by the SCCRC is published, and that justice swiftly follows.

    And I do hope that this happens sooner rather than later ... But what if it doesn't? ... What then? ... What if it all gets buried? ... We're in 2011 ... This happened in 1988!

    So although I agree with You up to a point that A Film or A Play or A Piece of Sculpture - (Or A Blog...) - will not solve this problem alone ... Nonetheless, every little bit of info or debate or conversation that filters out into the ether, I believe, is of value and assists the cause.

    I am sure that You agree with me on that at least.

    Best Regards,


    *PS: If you think about it, This Particular Strand of Debate has occurred as a result of someone mentioning the play ...
    "Lockerbie - Unfinished Business".

    Mark Gilvary

  15. Bear in mind that Gaddafi's Libya was framed not just for Pan Am Flight 103 but also for the sabotage of UTA Flight 772.

    President Bush Senior, the CIA's Vince Cannistraro and the FBI's Tom Thurman did the framing.

    Iran and apartheid South Africa did the bombings!