Last June The BBC announced
Jason Watkins, Victoria Hamilton, George MacKay and Jerome Flynn to star in conspiracy thriller The Trick for BBC One
written by Bafta-nominated Owen Sheers The Trick tells the story of world-renowned Professor Philip Jones, Director of Climate Research at the University of East Anglia, who back in 2009 found himself at the eye of an international media storm and the victim of cyberterrorism.
With time running out against an unseen enemy, The Trick looks at the potentially devastating consequences to humanity from climate change denial; how a media storm undermined public confidence in the science and how the concept of ‘truth’ took a back seat causing us to lose a decade of action. The film also charts the unjustified persecution of Phil Jones, his wife Ruth’s fierce support of her husband and the fight for the ultimate exoneration of himself and the science.
Jason Watkins, who plays Jones, says:
“It is rare that a drama marries the personal and the public in such a compelling way – the urgent need to tackle the effects of the earth’s warming is not going away and the research into this project has been sobering. It is a privilege to play the brilliant scientist, Phil Jones, whose own private world was so threatened from outside and whose research and efforts have been so vital globally in combating the effects of climate change.
Owen Sheers says:
“The Trick is both a story of a particular moment in time, and a story for our times. The events that came to be known as Climategate were a powerful coalescence of forces that have since shaped much of our last decade. At its heart, however, this is also a story about the people caught at the eye of a new kind of storm, and how in the end despite attack from all sides, the integrity and truth of their important work won through.”
Adrian Bate, Producer for Vox Pictures, adds:
“The Trick is a thriller that gives us a unique opportunity to convey the dangers of climate change through the prism of a drama that is both chilling and true. It’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the debate surrounding the biggest challenge the world has ever faced, especially in the lead up to COP26.”
There’s more on the thriller here
The “Climategate” computer hacking scandal that rocked the scientific world is to be made into a BBC film. Hackers stole thousands of emails and documents from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in Norwich in 2009. The Trick will tell the story of the professor, who was director of the Climatic Research Unit. Prof Jones became the victim of cyber terrorism with stolen emails used by human-induced climate change deniers to promote their view of global warming ahead of an international conference.
Whattowatch has more:
With time running out to save the planet, The Trick on BBC1 looks at the devastating consequences some leaked emails from climate change scientists had on those trying to prevent the crisis. Here’s everything you need to know about the one-off drama…. At present the release date for The Trick is being kept strictly under wraps… in terms of the battle against climate change, the film can’t be screened soon enough.
The Trick on BBC1 follow the events of 2009 when Professor Philip Jones headed up the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, from which several emails were hacked and leaked to the public. Climate change deniers falsely used these as evidence that Professor Jones and his fellow researchers were faking the evidence that the planet was heating up to dangerous levels.
He faced a barrage of hate, including death threats, and it set back attempts to halt climate change for around a decade. The impact on Professor Jones himself was huge. “Within a day or two reporters were outside my house, knocking on my neighbours’ doors, digging for dirt,” he recalls. “I got hundreds of abusive and threatening emails. I knew the accusations were nonsense. But my health deteriorated. I found it difficult to sleep and eat. I was under intense, spiralling pressure and felt I was falling to pieces. Looking back, I suppose I was having some kind of a nervous breakdown.”
According to Entertainmentdaily, Jerome Flynn plays former tabloid editor and PR executive Neil Wallis who represented the University of East Anglia during Climategate, and George MacKay plays his associate.
In an odd way this is cheering news. Jones has presumably given his permission for this massive intrusion into what the media describe as “his private life.” Since exposing traumatic events that caused you suicidal thoughts on prime time TV would obviously risk a recurrence of the trauma, I think we can safely say that Phil’s suicidal thoughts
never existed, that they were a convenient lie enabling Phil to avoid difficult questioning from the Parliamentary Committee and the press. Which I’m sure makes us all feel better. Nice one Phil.
[Added following Alan Kendall’s comment below.
Following Alan’s comments, I accept that Jones may well have had suicidal thoughts, and I apologise to him and to his wife for suggesting that he was lying on this subject. I repeat that I find it cheering in an odd way that he now feels well enough to let the BBC tell the story that led to his unfortunate mental suffering, and I look forward to discovering how much of Jones’ lies, obfuscation, conspiratorial plotting to circumvent IPCC rules, and illegal destruction of data is revealed in the BBC’s drama.]
The main proponents of this “thriller,” apart from the wreck of the ex-pseudo-scientist himself, are apparently his loyal wife and two public relations consultants. No mention of Briffa, Mann, Harry “Read Me,” or indeed any of the “human-induced climate deniers” (???) who are the villains of the piece. Since any attempt to portray them in the terms suggested by the above synopses would be potentially libellous, it seems probable that Steve McIntyre etc. will remain a mysterious “they,” conspiring in the shadows, while the real drama plays out between a suffering scientist, his loyal wife, and his PR men. It really tells you all you need to know about the play, the BBC, and climate science.