Wednesday 18 May 2022

Widespread implications for the meaning of justice

[What follows is excerpted from a report published today in the Irish Mirror:]

Oscar-nominated film director Jim Sheridan wanted to work again with Daniel Day-Lewis in his next drama – but the actor wouldn’t come out of retirement.

Sheridan is spearheading a new Sky drama with his daughter Kirsten on the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, which will be based on the search for justice by Dr Jim Swire and his wife Jane whose 23-year-old daughter Flora died in the Scottish air disaster.

The Mirror can reveal Sheridan is busy casting for the highly-anticipated project – but wanted Daniel Day-Lewis to play a lead role in the drama, after the pair worked together in Sheridan’s award-winning My Left Foot.

Day-Lewis retired in 2017 saying: "It was something I had to do".

He said at the time: “I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t." (...)

Set for release next year, the five-part TV series Lockerbie is in the early stages of production – but Jim and Dr Swire are writing all episodes of Lockerbie, while Naomi Sheridan will guest-write one.

On December 20, 1988, all 259 passengers and crew died when a bomb planted on board Pan Am Flight 103, from Frankfurt, Germany to Detriot, exploded.

A further 11 residents in the town of Lockerbie also died when the plane crashed, bringing the total number of fatalities to 270.

Dr Swire campaigned for the truth behind the attack as he fought for justice as he was a spokesperson for UK Families Flight 103, a group of families who lost relatives in the bombing.

In 1990, in a bid to demonstrate a lax in airport security, Swire carried a fake bomb onto an British Airways flight from London Heathrow to JFK in New York and then on a plane from New York to Boston.

He lobbied for a solution to the difficulties in bringing the suspects to trial.

During his fight for justice, Dr Swire went on to meet Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, who in 2003 accepted responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims. [RB: What Libya accepted was "responsibility for the actions of its officials". The full text can be read here.] 

He later advocated for the retrial and release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was originally convicted for the crime.

The series was commissioned by Gabriel Silver, Director of Commissioning for Drama at Sky Studios and Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky UK.

"The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 was one of the world’s deadliest terror attacks that continues to have widespread implications for the meaning of justice in the US, Scotland and Libya," said the Sheridans in a previous statement.

"Over 30 years on, this series takes an intimate and very personal look at the aftermath of the disaster, and we are grateful to all of those, particularly Jim and Jane, who have entrusted us to tell their story, and the story of their loved ones, on screen.”

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