Dunblane: Our Story, TV review: As one survivor said: 'Why my class, why my school, why my town?'

Featuring interviews with parents, siblings, pupils and teachers, the documentary told the tale of those caught up in the life-changing events of that day

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Almost 20 years ago to the day, Thomas Hamilton walked into the gym at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling and began shooting. In just three minutes on the morning of 13 March 1996 he killed 16 children and one teacher before turning the gun on himself. It remains the UK's worst mass shooting to this day.

Dunblane: Our Story was exactly that. Featuring interviews with parents, siblings, pupils and teachers – many of whom were speaking publicly for the first time since the tragedy – it told the tale of those caught up in the life-changing events of that day.

Debbie, the daughter of Gwen Mayor, the primary school teacher killed that day, broke down as she spoke of her pride in knowing that her mother had tried to protect the children, while headteacher Ron Taylor, who remembered the day with absolute clarity, spoke of his "enormous guilt" and the "unimaginable horror" of seeing children lying dead on the gym room floor.

Siblings spoke of the brothers and sisters they had missed out on getting to know and parents remembered those terrifying hours when they didn't know if their child was dead or alive.

Pupil Amy Hutchison, who was shot in the leg by Hamilton but managed to crawl to safety in a store cupboard, also remembered the events with some clarity despite being just five years old at the time.

"I don't remember the pain of being shot, I don't remember the noises or sounds, I just remember my leg turning to jelly and falling to the floor and then dragging myself to the gym cupboard," said the 25-year-old.

It was, of course, harrowing stuff. I defy anyone who watched it not to have welled up – or worse. But at the same time, it was utterly absorbing.

Sadly, what this documentary couldn't do was provide any answers as to why this catastrophe had to happen or what motivated Hamilton to do what he did. As survivor Amy said: "As a child the anger was not there, but looking back now I think 'why?' Why my class, why my school, why my town? Why?" It's a set of questions that nearly two decades later, remain unanswered.

Comments