Monday, 1 September 2014

Filmmaker and pilot takes a close-up view of Lockerbie

[This is the headline over an article in today’s edition of The Herald.  It reads as follows:]

A novel about the ­Lockerbie bombing has been published by a film-maker and director who has worked on the hit television drama Hamish Macbeth.

Paddy Carpenter, a first assistant director on films and TV series who has worked with actors such as Omar Sharif, wrote the 500-page book over the past two years after becoming fascinated with the atrocity while filming in Scotland.

Unsafe: The Script of One-Zero-Three tells the story of screenwriter Ray Scriver and his efforts to get his work taken up by Hollywood.

Mr Carpenter, who has also worked on the TV ­detective series Minder, said the novel explores both the downing of Pan Am 103 and the politics of the film industry.

It is set in a number of locations including New Zealand and Scotland.

The qualified pilot, who lives in Gloucestershire, said: "Lockerbie is obviously a very dark subject, but basing the novel in the film industry allowed me to introduce an element of light into the plot.

"There are lots of twists and turns and suprises in the story. It moves about quite a lot to keep interest. There is a lot of foreboding in it, not just about the bombing, but about what is going to happen to Ray and his script."

All 243 passengers and 11 crew died when Pan Am 103 was blown up over ­Lockerbie on 21 December 1988. Eleven people on the ground were also killed. It remains the biggest terrorist attack in Britain.

Abdelbaset al Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was convicted of the bombing at a special court in The Netherlands in 2001.

But new theories have arisen over who was responsible. In March this year ex Iranian spy Abolghassem Mesbahi claimed the attack was ordered by Iran in revenge for the accidental downing of an Iranian commercial jet by the US Navy in 1988.

It was carried out by ­Palestinian terrorists based in Syria, he said, and not on the orders of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

[The blurb for the novel on reads in part:]

English screenwriter Ray Scriver's latest script lifts the lid on the real guilt behind the Lockerbie bombing, so will find powerful opponents. When his film, One-Zero-Three, moves nearer to production, and knowledge of his explosive conclusions can no longer be contained, his life begins to feel increasingly precarious. Just as with the Lockerbie flight itself, its investigation, evidence at the trial, the verdict and the whole public perception of the case, Scriver wonders if he too is now unsafe. A novel set in the larger than life world of film-making, Unsafe – The Script of One-Zero-Three is centred around a screenplay which aims to stir the muddy waters of a real terrorist plot, the actual outrage above Scotland and a cynical 25 year cover-up by agencies and governments. So the book is also a fascinating, no-stone-unturned, true crime reinvestigation of the UK's largest ever mass-murder and its aftermath.

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