Series dramatising Lockerbie bombing to be filmed in Malta

Netflix and BBC announce commissioning of a series dramatising the Lockerbie bombing, nearly 35 years after the flight from London to New York exploded mid-air

The remains of the plane forward section
The remains of the plane forward section

The BBC and Netflix have announced the commissioning of a series dramatizing the Lockerbie bombing, nearly 35 years after the flight from London to New York exploded mid-air.

The series – Lockerbie – will focus on the investigation into the crash on both sides of the Atlantic and the devastating effect it had on the small town and the families who lost loved ones.

From the initial exhaustive search for evidence on the ground in Scotland, via the US and Malta to the trial at Camp Zeist in 2000, the drama takes us right up to the most recent indictment at the end of 2022.

The project was initiated by filmmaker Adam Morane-Griffiths whose research includes extensive interviews with Scottish police officers and representatives from United States investigative agencies, many of whom have never previously shared their stories.

Filming will take place later this year in Scotland, Malta and Toronto.

The lead writer is acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Jonathan Lee, with two episodes written by Scottish screenwriter Gillian Roger Park. The 6 x 60 series is produced by World Productions in association with MGM Television.

Lockerbie will air on BBC One and iPlayer followed by Netflix in the UK and globally. Julia Stannard will produce and Michael Keillor will direct. The project was initially developed by MGM Television and Night Train Media.

“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,” writer Jonathan Lee said.

The Lockerbie disaster

On December 21, 1988, the world was shaken by a horrifying act of terror that forever scarred the skies. Pan Am Flight 103, a transatlantic flight en route from London to New York, met with a devastating fate when it exploded mid-air over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie.

All 259 passengers and crew members on board lost their lives, and the tragedy did not spare the unsuspecting residents on the ground, as large sections of the aircraft rained down on the town, claiming 11 additional lives.

While the Lockerbie bombing itself was orchestrated by Libyan intelligence agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, investigations soon revealed the complexity of the plot and its international ramifications.

Malta emerged as a pivotal focal point in the investigation, as it was from here that crucial pieces of evidence linked to the bombing were traced. Authorities discovered that a suitcase, containing the bomb, was checked onto Flight 103 in Malta and then transferred onto the fateful Pan Am flight during a stopover in Frankfurt.

The involvement of Malta in the Lockerbie disaster shed light on the importance of robust security measures and highlighted the significance of cooperation between nations in countering acts of terrorism.

The tragedy prompted a global call for enhanced aviation safety protocols and strengthened intelligence sharing to prevent such heinous acts in the future. Subsequent investigations and legal proceedings led to al-Megrahi's arrest and conviction, but the incident remains etched in history as a stark reminder of the catastrophic consequences of terrorism and the indelible impact it has on the innocent lives it touches.