New drama will tell story of Lockerbie bombing and subsequent investigation

The six-part factual drama will tell the story of Pan Am flight 103, which was blown up in the sky over Lockerbie in December 1988.

A new drama series telling the story of the Lockerbie bombing is to be made almost 35 years after Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the skies above Scotland.

The BBC and Netflix have commissioned World Productions to make Lockerbie, a six-part, factual drama based on the real events surrounding the bombing and the joint Scots-American investigation into the terrorist attack.

Pan Am flight 103 was over the Dumfriesshire town of Lockerbie, on its way from London Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport, when a bomb exploded in the hold.

The explosion on December 21 1988 killed all 259 people on the plane, many of whom were Americans heading home for Christmas, as well as 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie.

Former Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is so far the only man convicted in relation to the bombing, after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder by a panel of three Scottish judges, sitting at a special court in the Hague in 2001.

He was sent to prison in Scotland, but was controversially granted compassionate release in 2009 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, returning home to Libya where he died in 2012.

Now, another man,  Libyan Abu Agila Masud, who  is alleged to have helped make the bomb, faces three charges, denying these when he appeared at a federal court in the US in February.

Abdelbaset Al Megrahi returned to his home country in 2009 after being released from prison in Scotland (Danny Lawson/PA)

Speaking about the new series, BBC commissioning editor Gaynor Holmes said: “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.”

Novelist and screenwriter Jonathan Lee is the lead writer for the new series, with two episodes written by Scottish screenwriter Gillian Roger Park.

Lee said: “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.”

The series is produced by World Productions, which has previously produced United, about the Munich air disaster the killed eight Manchester United footballers in 1958; and Anne, a drama about Hillsborough mother and justice campaigner, Anne Williams.

Simon Heath, CEO of World Productions, said: “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.”

The series is being made in association with MGM Television, with Lockerbie set to air first on BBC One and iPlayer, followed by on Netflix in the UK and globally.

Executive producer, Adam Morane-Griffiths, said: “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.”

Lindsay Sloane, of MGM Television, told how Morane-Griffiths had “expertly researched” the investigation into the bombing, with this work providing the basis for the scripts.

Sloane said: “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.”

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