An option has been signed to make a film out of one of Britain’s greatest air disasters, 88 years ago this week, that killed a cabinet minister and finished off the airship as a viable means of transport. The film rights for the James Leasor book, The Millionth Chance: The Story of the R101, have been purchased by Talking Trees Film, an innovative visual company with a creative team based in London and New York City – drama, reality, documentary… entertainment for both television and the big screen.
The R101 airship was the largest aircraft ever built and was thought to be the model for the future, an amazing design that was ‘as safe as houses…’ except for the fact that this huge vessel crashed leaving forty-seven dead, including a cabinet minister – and only six survivors, on its first commercial flight. It is a story of undue political pressure, mismanagement and compromise. It is also a story of great bravery and mystery.
When The Millionth Chance was first published in 1957 it shocked the world. It was the first account of the incident that had revealed the full facts that led up to the disaster, after a whitewashed official enquiry. Written with the benefit of first-hand accounts of many of the people who had been involved, it was a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic.