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  1. ITV Report

Novichok poisonings in Salisbury inspire new BBC drama

The home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, Wiltshire Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA

The Novichok poisonings have inspired a new BBC drama.

A two-part series will explore the impact the events of 2018 had on the community in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

It will tell “the story of how ordinary people reacted to a crisis on their doorstep, displaying extraordinary heroism as their city became the focus of an unprecedented national emergency”.

Former Russian GRU agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a bench at The Maltings shopping centre on March 5 last year.

Prime Minister Theresa May with local Conservative MP John Glen in Salisbury, Wiltshire Credit: Adrian Dennis/PA

Mr Skripal and his daughter survived the attack, which Prime Minister Theresa May said had “almost certainly” been approved by the Russian state.

The incident later claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess, who died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack on the Skripals and then discarded.

A cast for the new BBC2 drama is yet to be announced.

Writers Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn said: “We feel extremely privileged to be telling this story.

“Extensive, meticulous research is at the heart of how we like to work and we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Salisbury who have opened up to us over the past few months and continue to do so.

Dawn Sturgess, who died after being exposed to nerve agent Novichok Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

“This is an extraordinary story full of ordinary heroes, the tale of how a community responded to an inconceivable event.”

Laurence Bowen, chief executive of production company Dancing Ledge Productions, said: “This is the story of the poisonings in Salisbury that hasn’t been told – the story of a community living through the real-life horror of an invisible threat that could and did kill without warning, a story of tragedy but also of resilience, and pride.”

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said: “The poisonings in Salisbury shocked the nation and had a huge impact on an unsuspecting community. This drama will capture the bravery, resilience and personal experience of the local people who faced a situation of unimaginable horror, so close to home.”

Despite the incident, Salisbury was named the best place to live in the UK, taking the title in The Sunday Times 2019 list.