Monday 31 July 2023

Sky and BBC to screen rival dramas on Lockerbie disaster

[What follows is excerpted from a report published yesterday on the Deadline website:]

A second major transatlantic drama series on the Lockerbie bombing terror attack is in the works — this time at the BBC and Netflix.

The British broadcaster and US streamer will co-produce Lockerbie, a factual drama that will explore the joint investigation into the 1988 disaster by Scottish and American authorities. (...)

Line of Duty producer World Productions is making the six-part series, which was initially developed by MGM Television and Night Train Media alongside filmmaker Adam Morane-Griffiths.

The BBC and Netflix commission comes more than a year after Sky and Peacock came together to greenlight a separate series, also titled Lockerbie. That project was meant to premiere this year but has been delayed amid continued development.

Jim Sheridan, the Oscar-nominated director of My Left Foot, and daughter Kirsten Sheridan are writing the Sky/Peacock series, which centers on a family’s search for justice. Carnival Films is producing.

Jonathan Lee, the novelist behind High Dive, is writing the BBC/Netflix drama alongside Gillian Roger Park (The Young Offenders), a Scottish screenwriter who will pen two episodes.

They will draw on extensive interviews done by Morane-Griffiths, who spoke to Scottish police and US investigative agencies. The series will also examine the bombing’s impact on the people of Lockerbie.

Michael Keillor (Best Interests) will direct. The executive producers are Simon Heath and Roderick Seligman for World; Steve Stark and Stacey Levin for Toluca Pictures; Adam Morane-Griffiths, Sara Curran,  Herbert L Kloiber, Keillor; and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC. The co-EP is Joe Hill. 

Netflix drama commissioner Mona Qureshi said: “The moment we read Jonathan’s pilot script, informed by Adam’s meticulous research, we understood that this team had found a way into these events that is epic and intimate, local and global, personal and political. The devastation wrought on the night of 21st December 1988 continues to reverberate through the decades.”

BBC commissioner Holmes added: “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.”  

[A report in today's edition of The Times contains the following:]

The six-part show will air on the BBC and Netflix more than 35 years after flight Pan Am 103 exploded over the small Scottish town in 1988, killing 270 people including 43 Britons.

Lockerbie will focus on the investigation into the crash, starting with the search for evidence on the ground in Scotland, before travelling to the US and Malta, where the bomb is thought to have been assembled. It will take in the trial of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted in the Netherlands in 2001 and jailed for life before being released on compassionate grounds three years before his death in Libya in 2012. The US indictment last year of the suspected bombmaker, Abu Agila Masud, will also feature.

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