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Sky's Intense New Drama Is Based On The Chernobyl Disaster

Sky's Intense New Drama Is Based On The Chernobyl Disaster

It will tell the human story behind one of the world's worst nuclear disasters in history.

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews

A new Sky drama mini-series is set to tell the human story behind the Chernobyl disaster.

The disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident on 25th and 26th April 1986 in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the now-abandoned town of Pripyat, in northern Ukraine. A steam explosion caused a cloud of radioactive smoke and dust to be carried on the wind around Europe, and Pripyat residents were evacuated from the town.

Decades later, and the Pripyat is still as ghost-town with exclusion zones being put in place for the public.


Chernobyl stars Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and Jessie Buckley, and will be shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK, and HBO in the US.

Premiering on the Tuesday, 7th May, the five episode-long series will focus on the brave men and women, who sacrificed themselves for the future of Europe, and their unbelievable stories of strength to limit the scale of the disaster.

Chernobyl will also look into how and why the catastrophic nuclear accident occurred over 40 years ago.

Jared Harris, of The Crown and Mad Men fame, portrays Valery Legasov - a nuclear physicist who was one of the first to realise how bad the accident was. Apple Tree Yard star Emily Watson plays nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk who wants to find out exactly what caused the explosion.


I'd Do Anything's Jessie Buckley is cast as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of a firefighter, Vasily Ignatenko, who was one of the first one the scene of the disaster.

"It is a real honour to be part of this important piece of work and share with the world the real truth about the unbelievable bravery and sacrifice that the people of Chernobyl made in order to stop an even greater disaster," she told Radio Times of her new role. "I feel incredibly humbled."

Meanwhile, Stellan Skarsgard portrays Soviet Deputy Prime Minister, Boris Shcherbina.

It has been written by Craig Mazin and directed by The Walking Dead's Johan Renck, and promises to "bring to life the true story of the unprecedented tragedy".

"Simple question: everybody knows it exploded but no one asks why. Chernobyl will be a horror movie, it will be a war movie, it will be a political thriller and a courtroom drama. You know how bad you think Chernobyl was? It was hours away from being much worse," HBO miniseries president Kary Antholis told Deadline of the new series.

Chernobyl begins on Tuesday, May 7 in the UK on Sky Atlantic.

Featured Image Credit: Sky

Topics: HBO, TV Entertainment, Sky, Chernobyl