Disney stands by 7/7 bombing aftermath scenes in new drama

A replica of a London bus was used as a prop on a film set on Spa Road, in Bermondsey, south London, during filming about the 7/7 London bombings.
A replica of a London bus with its roof torn off was used as a prop by Disney.

Disney has defended its decision to recreate the aftermath of London's 7/7 bombings for a new drama, after survivors branded the move "shameful".

Filming began in October on Suspect: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, which tells the story of a man mistakenly killed after the attack.

Production photos shared online showed scenes depicting the aftermath of the bombings, which left 52 people dead.

Disney said the series was "a factual dramatisation of events".

In a statement to BBC News, it added that all its research had been carried out with "utmost sensitivity and respect".

The parents of de Menezes and other relatives are serving as consultants for the series, and producers have been speaking to a number of people and organisations who were involved in the events.

More than 700 people were injured when four suicide bombs exploded on the Tube and a bus in central London on 7 July 2005.

However, the focus of the series is not the 7/7 bombings, but the subsequent death of de Menezes. No explosions are being recreated for the series, which will show only the aftermath of the bombing in Tavistock Square.

Actors involved in the bus scenes, which were shot several weeks ago, are not representing any specific individuals.

But Daniel Biddle, 43, who lost his legs, an eye and his spleen in the bombing on Edgware Road, told the Sun that he had not been consulted by Disney producers about the filming.

He called it "shameful" and accused entertainment giant of showing "a lack of respect" to survivors.

Pictures from Disney's filming in Bermondsey, south London, show a life-sized replica of the red double-decker bus that was torn apart by a bomb that went off in Tavistock Square, not far from King's Cross.

George Psaradakis, who had been driving the No 30 bus that day, told the Sun he thought it was "tasteless" to recreate the scene.

"This will bring pain to everyone, especially to those who lost their loved ones," he said.

Suspect: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, produced by Jeff Pope, is set in the immediate aftermath of the 2005 bombings and centres on the killing by the police of a Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistaken for a suspect.

A Disney+ spokesperson said the series was "a factual dramatisation of events surrounding the police shooting of the innocent Brazilian shortly after the attempted bombings on 21 July.

"The team producing the series has significant expertise in this type of programming, incorporating extensive in-depth research that has been approached with the utmost sensitivity and respect, and all involved are conscious of the huge responsibility that comes with telling this story."

The spokesperson said that the scene was filmed several weeks ago, and that a range of factors were "carefully considered" when sourcing the filming location.

"Throughout filming production have worked very closely with [Transport for London], police, the council, community and businesses to ensure all were aware ahead of time that filming was taking place with marshals and signage canvassing the area on the day."