The collaboration between the BBC and Netflix has led to the commissioning of a gripping factual drama called “Lockerbie,” centred around the tragic events of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the joint efforts of Scotland and the United States to seek justice for the victims.
On the fateful day of December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, en route from Heathrow to JFK, fell victim to a bomb explosion over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie, claiming the lives of 270 people, including 43 British citizens and 190 Americans. This horrifying incident marked the most devastating terrorist attack on British soil and the first significant one affecting American citizens.
The esteemed novelist and screenwriter, Jonathan Lee, has been chosen as the lead writer for the series. Collaborating with him, Scottish screenwriter Gillian Roger Park will contribute to two episodes. The series, consisting of six episodes, each with a duration of 60 minutes, is being produced by World Productions, known for their previous works such as “United,” recounting the Munich air disaster, and “Anne,” which portrayed the story of Hillsborough mother and justice campaigner Anne Williams. Additionally, MGM Television, known for “The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes,” is also involved in the production. “Lockerbie” will air on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK, followed by Netflix for a global audience.
Under the supervision of producer Julia Stannard, who has notable credits like “United,” “War and Peace,” and “Anne,” the production will be helmed by director Michael Keillor, acclaimed for works like “Chimerica,” “Roadkill,” and “Best Interests.” The project’s inception was in the hands of MGM Television and Night Train Media.
The core narrative of “Lockerbie” will delve into the comprehensive investigation conducted on both sides of the Atlantic and the profound impact it had on the small town and the grieving families who lost their loved ones. The storyline will follow the exhaustive search for evidence in Scotland, the United States, and Malta, leading up to the momentous trial at Camp Zeist in 2000, as well as the most recent developments reflected in a 2022 indictment.
The idea for the project was conceived by filmmaker Adam Morane-Griffiths, whose extensive research includes candid interviews with Scottish police officers and representatives from various United States investigative agencies. These interviews provide an unprecedented opportunity to share their untold stories.
Filming for “Lockerbie” is scheduled to commence later this year, with locations set in Scotland, Malta, and Toronto.
Writer Jonathan Lee says: “The Pan Am 103 Disaster and the global manhunt it spawned was a defining event in world history – one that contains so many instances of resilience and courage that deserve to be honoured and understood. It’s a privilege to write this story for the screen.”
Simon Heath, CEO, World Productions, says: “We feel honoured to be given the responsibility of bringing such an extraordinary and epoch defining story to the screen, via Jonathan and Gillian’s brilliant scripts.”
Executive Producer, Adam Morane-Griffiths, says: “I’ve been working on this project for seven years, so it’s very dear to my heart. The investigation was extraordinary, as was the trial, and I’m beyond excited to work with such incredible partners bringing it to life.”
Head of Scripted at MGM Television, Lindsay Sloane, says: “The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which has been expertly researched by Adam Morane-Griffiths who provided the basis for the scripts, is an important story to tell. He painstakingly researched the incident through extensive interviews with Scottish police officers and representatives from United States investigative agencies, many of whom have never previously shared their stories. We are proud to have shepherded this project and are thrilled that Netflix and the BBC have greenlit the series.”
Gaynor Holmes, Commissioning Editor, BBC, says: “The tragic events which took place in Scotland that night continue to have an impact on our country and in particular the Lockerbie community. It was an atrocity which shocked the world and changed lives forever. 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.”
Mona Qureshi at Netflix says: “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. Netflix is proud to partner with the BBC to bring a true story that feels as raw and urgent as ever, to audiences in the UK and across the world.”
Lockerbie is written by Jonathan Lee and Gillian Roger Park. Julia Stannard will produce. Michael Keillor will direct. The Executive Producers are Simon Heath and Roderick Seligman for World Productions; Steve Stark and Stacey Levin for Toluca Pictures, Adam Morane-Griffiths, Sara Curran, Herbert L. Kloiber, Michael Keillor; and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC. The Co-Executive Producer is Joe Hill. Mona Qureshi will oversee for Netflix. Lockerbie is produced by World Productions, an ITV Studios company, in association with MGM Television and Night Train Media.