'SALISBURY POISONINGS': Plea to reserve judgement until it airs

'SALISBURY POISONINGS': Plea to reserve judgement until it airs

Published by Jack Deery at 5:43am 11th June 2020. (Updated at 10:33am 11th June 2020)

5 minute read

Spire FM have been talking to the Director ahead of the BBC drama hitting our screens this weekend.

Saul Dibb, Director of 'The Salisbury Poisonings' drama, has asked the people of the city to reserve their judgement until they've seen it. 

The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March 2018 with the nerve agent Novichok has been made into a three part series. 

Mr Dibb said: 

"I imagine there's going to be a bit of a mixed bag response, some people are going to think it's really good to tell this story and some people will be less certain about that.

But I would hope that the people will reserve judgement until they've seen it and try to see the story that we wanted to tell about these events."

Rafe Spall as DS Nick Bailey in The Salisbury Poisonings Drama
The drama has been split into three parts

Only a few scenes were actually filmed in the city, as the production company wanted to respect everyone living here. 

The drama follows the lives of some Salisbury residents that are caught in the middle of an international incident. 

While you may not immediately associate her with with the events of 2018, Tracy Daszkiewicz, Director of Public Health of Wiltshire Council, is one of the main people featured in the drama.

She was key in the responding to the incident including launching a track and trace programme to see how far the nerve agent had spread.

Tracy is played by Sex Education and Shameless star Anne-Marie Duff. 

Anne-Marie Duff as Tracy Daszkiewicz in The Salisnury Poisonings dramaDan
Tracy Daszkiewicz is played by Anne-Marie Duff

It also tells the story of DS Nick Bailey (played by Rafe Spall), who was poisoned with the nerve agent after being one of the first police officers called to Sergei Skripal's house.

MyAnna Buring plays Dawn Sturgess, who was fatally poisoned after her boyfriend Charlie Rowley (Johnny Harris) picked up a bottle of perfume containing Novichok and gave it to her as a gift.

Rafe Spall as DS Nick Bailey in the Salisbury Poisonings drama
Rafe Spall (above) is portraying DS Nick Bailey (below)

The writers of the show, Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn, say that the drama "focuses on the extraordinary heroism shown by the local community".

Adam and Declan said: 

"The Salisbury Poisonings is not always an easy watch. It deals with real trauma, experienced by real people, not very long ago. So why show it now? Because it is a story of people coming together in remarkable ways, finding strength in family and community. It’s a story that reflects the internal reality of an emergency public health response, with all of its critical decisions.

But perhaps most of all, because it reflects a kind of heroism that we have all come to recognise recently. A heroism that is quiet - ordinary even - and that is wrapped up in a simple sense of civic duty that we had wrongly assumed was on the wane, but that really had only been lying dormant. An everyday kind of heroism that nonetheless changes the world."

Shot of filming of The Salisbury Poisonings drama
Limited filming took place in Salisbury, with most happening in Bristol


In his latest blog, the city's MP, John Glen has said he will be hoping Salisbury is portrayed in a good way throughout the drama. 

"I will definitely be pausing to watch the drama on the Novichok incident, which hits our TV screens on Sunday.

It was a painful episode for Salisbury and it might not be the easiest watch but I hope it is a positive portrayal of our city and that it gives a true account of the public service of those who were involved with the aftermath of the poisonings."


Wiltshire Council, along with several other partners, supported the production team with the background information in the development phase of the drama.

The local authority says they've been "mindful throughout that this is not a documentary and as such we appreciate it will not be entirely factual throughout, with elements of the incidents altered or embellished for dramatic effect."

Bosses hope it will "sensitively capture" the way the communities came together and acknowledges both the human impact and the work of the agencies involved.  

Wiltshire Council also says it's important the team effort of those involved in the real incident is not forgotten.

"Although individuals may feature in the drama, the response to the poisonings was an incredible team effort involving officers from across the public sector, as well as their colleagues who continued to keep services running for the whole county.”

“Finally, we must not forget the lasting impact the events of 2018 have had on communities across Salisbury and Amesbury and upon those victims of this appalling criminal act. This was a very difficult time for all involved and we will continue to support the communities of Salisbury and Amesbury. We must remember Dawn Sturgess, who tragically lost her life as a result. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends.”

Dawn Sturgess Official Picture
Mum of three Dawn Sturgess who died after being poisoned with Novichok.


Here is the trailer for the show: 

The first episode starts at 9pm on BBC One on Sunday (14th) and episode 2 and 3 are on at the same time on Monday (15th) and Tuesday (16th).

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