1 9 9 2 (UK)
3 x 50 minute episodes
RAF pilot Peter Ross (Dafydd Emyr) and his squadron are on standby for deployment to the Gulf when he is killed in a mysterious accident during a low-flying assault exercise over the Black Mountains in Wales.
At his funeral, his coffin is filled with sandbags as he and his plane had disintegrated on impact with a sheer rock face. His widow, Louise (Maggie O’Neill), cannot accept that her husband is gone and retreats with her son into a private world of grief.
But when the Group Captain suggests that Peter’s crash was caused by pilot error, Louise starts thinking of the accident as part of a conspiracy.
Sean Maddox (Christopher Eccleston), a young married officer from her husband’s flight is appointed as Effects Officer to offer Louise help and guidance with practical matters following her bereavement.
The two succumb to a passionate and reckless affair – which begins on the night of Peter’s funeral – but try their hardest to keep it from becoming public knowledge. Meanwhile, the inquiry into Peter’s accident reveals unexpected flaws in the Ross marriage.
Estranged from his wife, Sean finally also loses Louise, who disappears with her son Toby (John Matthews) to the seaside in search of solitude as the first British pilots set off for the Gulf War.
The BBC series aired over consecutive weeks between 15 May and 29 May 1992. The Gulf War background lent the three-part thriller a topical edge. and the wonderfully big images of aeroplane cockpits over green valleys and night runways gave it real presence.
Wing Commander Donahue