In a case of fact being stranger than fiction, new British drama The Salisbury Poisonings is based on the incredible true story that unfolded only two years ago in the small city of Salisbury, UK.
After enjoying lunch together, a father and his daughter, who’d arrived from Russia only the day before to visit him, took a rest on a park bench. Passers-by called an ambulance when they were found to be unconscious. They’d been poisoned by Novichok, a lethal nerve agent originating in the former Soviet Union.
Turns out, the man on the bench was Sergei Skripal, former military officer and a double agent who’d assisted MI6. He and daughter Yulia survived the attack, after spending months in hospital. But the detective sergeant who’d been in Skripal’s house after he’d been identified, also fell ill soon afterwards, sparking a full-scale shutdown across the city, as public officials feared more widespread contaminations.
At the centre of the drama is local Director of Public Health, Tracy Daszkiewicz (played by the brilliant Anne-Marie Duff, Sex Education), who is suddenly thrust into the heart of a major crisis, working alongside emergency services to fiercely protect the local community. Daszkiewicz worked closely with the show’s producers who were determined to portray the story as authentically as they could.
Along with the recovery of and contribution by DS Nick Bailey (Rafe Spall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) the show also follows the love story of Dawn Sturgess (MyAnna Buring, The Witcher) and Charlie Rowley (Johnny Harris, Jawbone). Living just outside Salisbury, Sturgess and Rowley fell ill suddenly and were also found to have been exposed to Novichok, leading to the discovery of the source of the agent. The excellent cast also includes Annabel Scholey (Walking on Sunshine) as DS Bailey’s wife, Sally, and Mark Addy (Game of Thrones) as Sergei Skripal’s neighbour and friend, Ross Cassidy.
This critically-acclaimed four-part series focuses on the impact of the Novichok poisonings on the local community, and how its people and public services reacted to the crisis, displaying extraordinary heroism as their city became the focus of an unprecedented national emergency. The show poignantly captures their bravery, resilience and personal tragedies.
As SBS Director of Television and Online Content Marshall Heald said about the show, noting its timeliness, “It’s about how an entire community came together to successfully fight an invisible enemy; a truly inspiring story of hope, resilience and remarkable courage.”
The Salisbury Poisonings will premiere at 8.30pm Monday 24 August on SBS and will air over four consecutive nights at 8.30pm concluding Thursday 27 August. Episodes will be available on SBS On Demand at the same time as broadcast. Watch the trailer:
Watch episode 1 now:
This special event will be followed up each night by the premiere of new Australian drama, Hungry Ghosts at 9.30pm.