Monday, 6 May 2013

Lockerbie film to be produced by Skye-based company

[I am grateful to journalist Bob Smyth, who wrote the piece in yesterday’s Scottish edition of The Sun, for this more detailed account of the forthcoming Lockerbie film:]

The producers of hit comedy The Inbetweeners are making a new movie - about the Lockerbie disaster.

Scots-based Young Films are turning from comedy to tragedy with their plans for a hard-hitting film about the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, which claimed the lives of 270 people.

And it’s understood that top Scottish film-maker Kevin Macdonald will direct the project.  Kevin, brother of Trainspotting producer Andrew Macdonald, made the hit movie The Last King of Scotland.

The project by Isle of Skye-based Young Films is the second movie about Lockerbie in the pipeline.

It was revealed last year that producers were at the Cannes Film Festival trying to get funding for a movie about the horror. More detail about that project emerged recently, with news that it would focus on the story of Dr Jim Swire. Dr Swire lost his daughter Flora in the tragedy and has relentlessly campaigned for answers about the case amid his fears that bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted.
It’s believed key real-life characters in the newly-revealed project will include Dr Swire.

Young Films was set up by Christopher Young, who moved to Skye with his family in the 1990s.  His previous work as a producer includes Scots movies Venus Peter and Gregory’s Two Girls but he hit the big-time with The Inbetweeners TV series and smash movie.

Young Films refused to comment on the Lockerbie movie.

But an insider close to the project said: “They are very motivated to make a good film and have shown a lot of commitment to thoroughly researching this controversial case.”

The source added the project was now moving from the research phase to the script preparation stage. He said the film would feature characters involved in Megrahi's defence as well as Dr Swire.

He added: “It will be sympathetic to the claims by Dr Swire and other campaigners that the details outlined in court about how the crime was committed were inaccurate and the conviction of Megrahi was a miscarriage of justice.

“The writer has learned through his investigation of issues such as Deepcut that the official version of events can’t always be trusted.”
Dr Swire said he was aware of the Young Films project but had not signed a contract with them as he was focusing on the other film. He said: “I have friendly relations with the producers.

“I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I believe the story may have some focus on the campaigning by me and fellow relative Rev John Mosey.”

Rev Mosey lost his daughter Helga in the atrocity and shares Dr Swire’s view that the true facts of the bombing have been concealed by the authorities.

“Any time ordinary members of the public take on the establishment, as we have, it makes a good story.

“I have no idea if the fact that two films are planned will affect things as I’m not in the business.

“I don’t know when either is due to come out but I would have thought whichever film-maker releases theirs first would steal a march on the other.”

The script is being penned by Holby City writer Philip Ralph, who is an expert in dramatising true-life events.

He wrote a play about Deepcut – the shooting deaths of four young soldiers at an Army barracks - which won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008 and is now being made into a film. He is currently working on a Channel 4 drama about the 7/7 terror attacks on London. His online biography reveals he is “currently developing a feature film with Kevin Macdonald attached to direct, via Young Films”.

A spokesman for Mr Ralph refused to comment on the Lockerbie project.

It's understood that Megrahi's biographer, John Ashton, has also linked up with the producers to help with research. Mr Ashton became the Libyan's deathbed confidant as he and the bomber co-wrote the book Megrahi: You are my Jury, published last year. He refused to comment.


  1. But an insider close to the project said, “They are very motivated to make a good film and have shown a lot of commitment to thoroughly research this controversial case”.

    This is very encouraging and I do hope this means they will be looking at all the evidence and rational explanations for the crash.

    Google: John Barry Smith’s Public Address on Cargo Door Hazards.

  2. Dave, those of us who have, over many years, taken a serious interest in Lockerbie, have read -- in my case, many, many times -- John Barry Smith's Public Address. It does not convince, in the case of Pan Am 103, because of the other, incontrovertible evidence. May I respectfully suggest to you that you explore that other evidence. John Ashton's book is a good place to start.

  3. I was entirely gobsmacked to read in a previous thread that despite Dave assiduously pimping for John Barry Smith, he hasn't even read the AAIB report.

    As the AAIB report records that cargo door as having been recovered, and there being nothing untoward about its condition, I was assuming Dave was accusing the AAIB inspectors of lying. However, he appears not even to know what they said.

    I find it very strange that Dave repeatedly accuses others of failing to look at evidence, when he himself hasn't even looked at the evidence relating to the theory he espouses!

    Why do you persistently refuse to look at the evidence, Dave?

  4. I would like to remind everyone, in a sweet, non snooty, non condescending way to be careful about citing "reports", especially in light of how "reports" have been used in current events.

    I am concerned of why the crash evidence is being shipped off in pieces right when there may be new interest in the investigation, timing is always key.

  5. It's always open to question a report, even if it means accusing the authors of fabrication and lying. However, Dave persistently asserts a cause for the crash which is absolutely contradicted by the AAIB report, which he hasn't even read. To my mind that's pretty irresponsible.

    I do think there's a suspect passage in the report, but I can cite my reasons for thinking so. And my reservations relate to a matter of interpretation, not matters of fact.

    The evidence showing that something exploded in the lower front left-hand corner of baggage container AVE4041, and that this caused a breach in the hull, and that no other possible cause for the crash was found, is really incontrovertible, unless they had a whole other plane ready to substitute for the one that crashed.

  6. It is unnecessary for a layman to read all of a technical report, before commenting on a part of it, particularly if that part isn’t in the report!

    It is sufficient to read other articles explaining the report and to comment on particular points made.

    For me an open cargo door is a rational explanation of how the plane disintegrated and is in keeping with the debris trail.

    Therefore you would expect the condition of the forward cargo door to be included in the AAIB report, if only to rebut the explanation.

    Except I had read it wasn’t mentioned and considered this omission odd and worthy of investigation.

    And that’s why for some time now I have asked the experts to verify or disprove this explanation by referencing what the AAIB report had to say about the cargo door.

    Rather than answer Rolfe talked about green lizards and SM said the report did not mention the cargo door!

    Politely asking for this information is a perfectly reasonable contribution to a Lockerbie blog site, which is why I consider Rolfe’s wild responses as highly suspect.

    And I consider the decision to dissemble and move the wreckage as highly suspect too.

    However none of this refutes the existence of blast damaged suitcases, but these could have been the result of the explosive decompression, triggered by an open cargo door!

  7. I'm quite interested in Dave's disingenuous and indeed manipulative responses here. Here we have someone with zero knowledge or understanding of the case, singlemindedly pimping a wildly wrong theory he read on one guy's web site, to the exclusion of any rational analysis of the evidence. Someone who admits he's read nothing at all but secondary comment, and indeed pretty much nothing but John Barry Smith's web site.

    And from this position of virtually complete ignorance, he presumes to criticise and attack other people for (allegedly) not investigating certain aspects. Aspects we find he hasn't investigated himself. Yes, Dave, behave like that and people will mock you with comments about green lizards.

    Well, here you go, Dave. Do some work for once. Don't expect other people to do it for you.
    The main AAIB report:
    The appendices (which includes the illustrations):

    It's all there. Just a couple of clicks away. Just as easy to access and read that, as some kooky web site. Read for yourself about the cargo door. Better check out what it says about the left tail-fin while you're at it. That could be crucial, you know.

    And no, the suitcase evidence is absolutely incontrovertible, as Prof Black has himself mentioned several times. The suitcases show explosives damage - burning and singeing - and all the damaged items were packed in one corner of one container, the container which itself shows evidence of close involvement with an explosive charge. That is explosive as in Semtex, PETN, that kind of thing. Not explosive as in bursting a balloon.

  8. You forgot to reference the bit about the forward cargo door! Why?

  9. It's not that long a read. I'm sure you'll find it.

    Don't forget to check the left tail-fin while you're going through it.

  10. Dear Rolfe, instead of dancing around the point wouldn’t it just be easier to confirm what SM and JBS have said that the AAIB report doesn’t reference the condition of the forward cargo door?

    Clearly you think this omission is irrelevant, but if so, just say so and stop embarrassing yourself.

    The bit below is from John Barry Smith’s Public Address:

    “PA 103 AAIB report is silent too but does state aft and bulk doors were locked but is mute on latch status of forward cargo door.

    What shall we assume is the ten latch status of the unreported forward cargo door?

    If same as latched it would have been reported like other two reported as latched, so assumption can be made the forward cargo door was unlatched and unreported.

    The dilemma can be easily resolved by an examination of the latches of the forward cargo door of PA 103in the wreckage reconstruction at Farnborough.

    Could a US aviation official ask UK AAIB for that information?”

    Rolfe do you think this is a fair question to ask before the wreckage is dissembled and moved?

  11. I don't think I'm the one who is embarrassing themselves.

  12. Retruning to the story I am heartened that the producers are using someone with the unparalleled experience of John ashton in researching Lockerbie related films. I just hope the result isn't another hoax!