Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Diverted is a 2009 made for TV film which engaged my attention because although a fictional story, the background was factual. Because of 9/11 airspace above the USA was frozen with over 200 planes flying over the Atlantic at the time and tens of thousands of passengers diverted. Factually 39 planes with 6 600 passengers and crew descended on the Newfoundland Island town of Gander airport with a population of 9000. There were only 500 hotel beds so schools and halls had to be converted as well as the provision of meals, sanitation and communications. The film concentrates on a few of the passengers and crew members of one flight, a young flight controller, two female employees and the Mayor. The flight controller meets and provides accommodation for a young woman on her way for a job on Wall Street. The flight controller is content with his small town life in which he plays the drums in a rock band and enjoys the scenery, although he has travelled the world. They have a relationship at the of which the girl agrees to go to New York and take up the job and then decided after if she wants to give up her ambitions and come to live with the unambitious flight controller.

Colin Buchanan, he of Pascoe & Dalzell, is also on the flight sitting next to woman of his generation and they are both trying to get over failed relationships. They start and stop a romance and then as the plane takes off one holds the hand of the other and it is held back. David Suchet of Poirot plays an obnoxious businessman who demands a room at the hotel allocated to the place crew members but gains the sympathy of one of the front of house managers/housekeepers/receptionists after she learns that he is concerned about his son who was attending a meeting at the World Trade centre just after the planes struck and who he has not spoken with him for several years since the divorce. He learns that the son perished and did not attempt to ring his father although he attempted to contact his mother and a friend. Suchet is critical of everyone and at one point turns on the Arab looking Muslim on the plane who quickly realises that public attitudes towards him will change although he works hard and cares for his family in a small community in the USA. It is not clear why he is on the flight but he found by the Mayor on walkabout who shows him a welcome and asks him to check out the civic photocopiers. Another passenger learns that her mother who works at the building is safe when she appears on the TV. A young stewardess finds difficult to cope. The two hotel employees “show what two skirts can do” as examples of the service which was no doubt provided at short notice and on a voluntary basis.

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