Lockerbie bombing TV drama to go into production this year

A major new TV drama based on the Lockerbie bombing and the long search for justice by Dr Jim Swire and his family is to go into production this year.

A new TV drama on the impact of the Lockerbie disaster is going into production this year. Picture: Roy Letkey
A new TV drama on the impact of the Lockerbie disaster is going into production this year. Picture: Roy Letkey

Sky is joining forces with an American streaming service to make the five-part series, which is expected to be aired next year.

It is being written by Oscar nominees Jim and Kirsteen Sheridan, the Irish father-and-daughter writers and directors, whose credits include In The Name of the Father and In America.

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The series will explore the impact of the disaster on the Swire family following the loss of their 23-year-old daughter Flora in the disaster.

Dr Jim Swire and his wife Jane, leaving London's Westminster Abbey in 1998 following an Act of Remembrance service on the 10 Anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster. Picture: Toby Melville/PA
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It has been announced less than a year after the publication of a book charting Dr Swire’s efforts to establish the truth about Lockerbie.

He has led a campaign that maintains the only man ever convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

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The former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder at a specially-convened Scottish court in the Netherlands and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years. Megrahi was released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds while terminally ill with cancer. He returned to Libya and died in 2012.

As well as Sky and Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, the Lockerbie drama is also being co-produced with the Universal Studio Group.

Dr Jim Swire.

An official announcement on the series from Sky and Peacock states: “All 259 passengers and crew were killed when the bomb exploded over Lockerbie 38 minutes after take-off, with a further 11 residents losing their life as the plane came down over the quiet, Scottish town.

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"Thirteen years later, in 2001, Libyan national Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of the crime and later released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

“Shortly after the Lockerbie bombing, one of the worst terrorist attacks in history, some families of the victims joined together to launch a campaign for truth and justice.

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"Among them was Dr Jim Swire, whose campaign has taken him to the sand dunes of Libya to meet face-to-face with Colonel Gaddafi, to 10 Downing Street to meet with successive prime ministers and to the corridors of power in the US where he worked with the American victims’ groups to mount pressure on Washington for tighter airport security, well before 9/11.”

Jim and Kirsteen Sheridan said: “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.

“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.”

Jim Sheridan has been linked with a Lockerbie film or drama for years.

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Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter in 2014, two years after Megrahi passed away, he said: “It’s scary what they didn’t reveal to us at the time. It doesn’t really matter, the people are dead and you can’t bring them back to life. But in the future, we need clear investigations of these things.”

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