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BBC drama The Salisbury Poisonings to tell story of ordinary heroism – writer

The Salisbury Poisonings (BBC)
The Salisbury Poisonings (BBC)

The BBC has shared a first look at new drama The Salisbury Poisonings, about the impact the 2018 novichok poisonings had on the local community.

It follows the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and tells the story of how ordinary people and public services reacted to a crisis on their doorstep, as their city became the focus of a national emergency.

A first-look image shows Anne-Marie Duff as Tracy Daszkiewicz, the director of public health for Wiltshire, MyAnna Buring as Dawn Sturgess and Rafe Spall as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.

65th Evening Standard Theatre Awards – London
Anne-Marie Duff stars in the series (Ian West/PA)

The show also stars Johnny Harris as Charlie Rowley, Annabel Scholey as Sarah Bailey, Mark Addy as Ross Cassidy, Stella Gonet as Caroline Sturgess and Ron Cook as Stan Sturgess.

Writer Declan Lawn, a former BBC journalist, said: “We felt that there was an untold human story that should be told.

“As soon as we started researching it, we found these incredible stories that no-one had heard before, about the response to what happened there.

“About the ordinary public servants, and civil servants, who did this extraordinary job in keeping people safe and saving many, many lives. We also spoke to people who had been massively affected by it.”

Co-writer Adam Patterson, also a former journalist, added: “Dancing Ledge Productions came to us with the concept of looking at what happened in Salisbury from a drama perspective. And, to be honest, our initial response was that we knew the story and didn’t know how it would play out as a drama.

“After we spent a week in Salisbury, we realised very quickly that there was a massive story that hadn’t been told on the human level.

“We ended up living there for weeks and weeks and, having assumed that the response effort had been run from Whitehall, we realised that there were also a lot of people on the ground who had done a lot of the work and saved numerous lives.”

Lawn continued: “Ordinary heroism is how we came to think of it. Ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, who did remarkable things, under enormous pressure, and saved a lot of lives.

“That’s one element of the story, and the other element is those people who were directly affected. Such as Nick Bailey, who was poisoned and almost died, and Dawn Sturgess, who sadly did die, and her family, who are still grieving for her.”

The Salisbury Poisonings will air on June 14, 15, and 16 on BBC One at 9pm and all episodes will also be available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer after the first episode has aired.

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