The Salisbury Poisonings is a three-part drama focusing on the 2018 situation when, on March 4th of that year, former spy Sergei Skripal, along with his daughter Yulia, were found poisoned on a park bench, and losing consciousness. They’d been posioned, and as the first episode begins, we see the situation unfold as they collapse in front of onlookers.
The Omnipotatent Rafe Spall (Trying) is cop DS Nick Bailey, called to the scene early on, but after a quick look around the Skripal’s house, he was feeling not too clever. Elsewhere, Anne-Marie Duff (From Darkness) takes the role of Tracy Daszkiewicz, Director of Public Health, looking to find out how this happened and precisely what was the cause of the poisoning; and there’s a few other well-known faces such as Mark Addy as best friend to Sergei and Yulia, Ross, who didn’t have a clue what was going on in that household; plus Johnny Harris (Jawbone, and also in From Darkness) and Myanna Buring (In The Dark) as Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, and it takes a while to learn where their stories are leading in the grand scheme of things, but stick with it.
We learn how even a spoonful of the toxic nerve agent Novichok can kill thousands, and how you could go weeks without finding the precise spot where it exists on a surface – but touch it and you’re infected; and it doesn’t lose its toxicity, either, as it can last beyond 50 years.
The drama is based on many first-hand accounts from those who were involved – such as Tracy’s battle with the police to do the right thing while they were just open everywhere up as quickly as possible (a bit like ignoring COVID19 for ‘getting the economy going again’), and we see how it affects those involved, whether emotionally and/or physically.
Overall, I’ll give no spoilers as to how things conclude, but it’s safe to say that what we have, here, is a very engaging first episode, but the other two are a bit slow, and it could be wrapped up in around 2hrs 20mins tops.
The Salisbury Poisonings continues tomorrow night at on BBC1 at 9pm, and is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of the release date of July 13th. You can also watch the entire series now on the BBC iPlayer.
Episode 1 Score: 8/10
Episode 2 Score: 7/10
Episode 3 Score: 7/10
Director: Saul Dibb
Writers: Declan Lawn, Adam Patterson
Tracy Daszkiewicz: Anne-Marie Duff
DS Nick Bailey: Rafe Spall
Dawn Sturgess: Myanna Buring
Ross Cassidy: Mark Addy
Mo Cassidy: Clare Burt
Sarah Bailey: Annabel Scholey
Charlie Rowley: Johnny Harris
Caroline Sturgess: Stella Gonet
Gracie Sturgess: Sophia Ally
Supt. Dave Minty: Darren Boyd
DCC Paul Mills: Nigel Lindsay
Yulia Skripal: Jill Winternitz
Sergei Skripal: Wayne Swann
Sgt Tracy Holloway: Natalie Klamar
PC Alex Wade: Kate Lamb
Jayne McNaughten: Faye McKeever
DI Ben Mant: Paul Popplewell
Dr James Haslam: Duncan Pow
Emma Black: Emma Stansfield
Ted Daszkiewicz: William Houston
Toby Daszkiewicz: Judah Cousin
Annie Bailey: Kiera Thompson
Ellie Bailey: Stephanie Gil
Police Officer: Daniel Crossley
Maya: Naomi Yang
Tim Atkins: Jonathan Slinger
Mark O’Brien: Matt McCooey
Davina Maens: Ann Akin
Alistair Cunningham: Andrew Brooke
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.