Two 'Lockerbie' Series Go Head to Head in Competing Prestige Dramas

Connor Swindells and Colin Firth lead competing miniseries titled 'Lockerbie' based on the 1988 crash

Connor Swindells and Colin Firth lead competing miniseries titled 'Lockerbie' based on the 1988 crash


We've discussed the "Twin Film" phenomenon before here at Telly Visions. In 2022, David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch both signed on to play Alexander Litvinenko in dueling miniseries, Litvinenko and Londongrad. That wound up not amounting to much as the former wound up on Sundance Now and the latter Lost on Max over here. However, the latest example looks like a higher profile showdown in the making, as not only is it being produced by high-profile streamers on both sides of the pond, but the two series have the exact same name. 

Lockerbie, based on the famous 1988 terrorist bombing, was originally optioned by Sky Max with Peacock, but when that project went dormant, the BBC teamed with Netflix to make their own miniseries by the same name based on the events of the crisis. However, that seems to have lit a fire under its competitors, and now both co-productions have commenced filming, with full casts announced within days of each other. 

Peacock and Sky led off with the announcement Colin Firth would lead their five-part miniseries, starring as Dr. Jim Swire, whose daughter was killed on PanAm Flight 103 that fateful day, and who, along with his wife, became the spokesperson for the victims.  

On February 28, 2024, Sky put out a press release announcing that filming had commenced. Based on the book The Lockerbie Bombing: A Father’s Search for Justice by Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph, here's the synopsis:

In the wake of the disaster and his daughter’s death, Dr Jim Swire, is nominated spokesperson for the UK victims’ families, who have united to demand truth and justice. Travelling across continents and political divides, Jim embarks on a relentless journey that not only jeopardises his stability, family and life, but completely overturns his trust in the justice system. As the truth shifts under Jim’s feet, his view of the world is left forever sullied. Exploring events from the disaster and its aftermath, Lockerbie provides an intimate account of a man, a husband, and a father who risks everything in memory of his daughter and the unflinching pursuit of truth and justice.

The rest of the cast was also announced. Catherine McCormack (Slow Horses) has been cast as Jim's wife, Jane Swire. The rest of the cast includes Sam Troughton (Chernobyl), Mark Bonnar (Guilt), Andy Nyman (A Small Light), Ardalan Esmaili (Opponent), and Selwa Jghalef (Layers). The five-part series is written by David Harrower (Blackbird), with Maryam Hamidi (Vigil), plus Jim, Kirsten, and Naomi Sheridan. Director Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders) will helm the majority of episodes, with Jim Loach (Save Me) also directing. Executive Producers include Harrower, Bathurst, Jim and Kirsten Sheridan, Liz Trubridge, and Oskar Slingerland, plus Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant for Carnival Films and Sam Hoyle for Sky Studios. 

Meanwhile, on March 5, 2024, the BBC put out its own press release announcing filming had commenced on its six-part miniseries, also titled Lockerbie. 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." Here's the synopsis:

On 21 December 1988, flight Pan Am 103 was en route from Heathrow to JFK when a bomb exploded in its hold over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, including 43 British citizens and 190 Americans. It was the worst-ever terror attack on British soil and the first major one on US citizens. Based on the real events surrounding the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the joint Scots-US investigation, which sought to bring the perpetrators to justice, 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 cast, which had not been disclosed previously, includes Connor Swindells (Rogue Heroes), Patrick J. Adams (Suits), Merritt Wever (Godless), Peter Mullan (Payback), Tony Curran (Mary & George), Eddie Marsan (Ridley Road), Lauren Lyle (Karen Pirie), Andrew Rothney (Traces), Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), Parker Sawyers (Spy/Master), James Harkness (The Sixth Commandment), Khalid Laith (COBRA), and Amanda Drew (The Gold).

Jonathan Lee (Who Killed Jill Dando) and Gillian Roger Park (Sneakerhead) wrote the scripts, with director Michael Keillor (Roadkill) helming all six installments, with Julia Stannard producing. Executive producers are Keillor, Morane-Griffiths, Sara Curran, Joe Hill, Herbert L. Kloiber for Night Train Media, Simon Heath and Roderick Seligman for World Productions; Steve Stark and Stacey Levin for Toluca Pictures; Gaynor Holmes for the BBC; and Mona Qureshi and Manda Levin will oversee for Netflix.

Neither version of Lockerbie has a release date so far, but both are expected to arrive in 2025.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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