Return to Lockerbie with Lorraine Kelly

Wednesday: Return to Lockerbie with Lorraine Kelly (ITV1, 9pm)
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Pan Am flight 103 blew up in the sky 31,000ft over small Scottish border town of Lockerbie in Scotland on December 21, 1988, just 38 minutes after taking off, killing all 259 passengers.

The plane, called Clipper Maid of the Seas, was flying from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York, when a bomb was detonated aboard.

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Large sections of the aircraft fell onto a residential street in Lockerbie, killing 11 residents, and taking the death toll to 270.

Lorraine Kelly travelling by train to LockerbieLorraine Kelly travelling by train to Lockerbie
Lorraine Kelly travelling by train to Lockerbie

Acting on a tip-off from a police contact, TV-am’s Scotland Correspondent Lorraine Kelly was one of the first reporters to arrive on the scene before it was cordoned off.

She witnessed the horrific aftermath first hand, as she recalled during an interview with the Daily Star on Sunday.

“We got right up to the nose of the plane in the field,” she said.

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“We were there before the police had put barriers up. It was terrible. There were lots of bodies, some of them were still in their seats. It was awful.

“You don’t forget things like that – it’s seared on to your brain.

The only thing that made me able to still do my job (that day) was the unreality.

“It was like being on a movie set, it really was. You can’t imagine anything worse.”

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In this poignant film, Lorraine returns to the scene of Europe’s deadliest terror attack for the first time, 35 years on, to try to understand what happened to Lockerbie and its people once the TV cameras went home.

She meets the residents who didn’t put up Christmas lights in the town centre for 10 years after the event, and hears how people have attempted to make sense of the senseless and found hope in human connection as a way to deal with their grief.

Lorraine, who turns 64 in two weeks’ time, also seeks to understand what this horrific event can teach us about the road back to peace from trauma and asks whether the event had a more profound impact on her own life than she had ever imagined.

“I do sometimes get flashbacks,” she admits. “I still see the bodies.”

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Lorraine has since revealed that she “cried” on Christmas Day following the tragedy.

She explained that her father had come to pick her up, and in “typical working class” style asserted that his daughter wouldn’t want to talk about it. However, she admits that she went ahead and just “talked and cried” instead.

Lorraine was just 31 at the time of the disaster and her reporting resulted in her landing a presenting job on TV-am’s Summer Sunday programme.

She also provided cover for the hosts of the main show throughout the week, before joining Good Morning Britain in 1990 and helping to launch GMTV in 1993.

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However, she has since admitted to Star Talk that she feel pangs of guilt that the Lockerbie bombing somehow helped her TV career.

“It is quite difficult to live with that,” she says.

“The fact that dreadful, horrendous, terrorist atrocity resulted in me getting one of the best jobs ever.”