Belfast Telegraph

Former BBC NI reporter Declan Lawn pens new drama on Salisbury poisonings

Reporter Declan Lawn
Reporter Declan Lawn
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

A former BBC NI reporter is behind a major new factual drama on the Salisbury poisoning case which sent shockwaves through international politics and sparked a major international diplomatic crisis between the UK and Russia.

Former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by the deadly nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, Wiltshire in March last year.

Mr Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter were left fighting for their lives in hospital after being found unconscious on a park bench but ultimately survived.

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess died in hospital having been also exposed to the nerve agent, while her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, was left seriously ill after the couple fell ill in Amesbury, a nearby town.

The television drama, co-written by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, focuses on the impact the 2018 poisonings had on the local community, telling the story of how ordinary people and public services reacted to a crisis on their doorstep as their city became the focus of an unprecedented national emergency.

Leading the cast is Shameless star Anne-Marie Duff, who is joined by Rafe Spall of The Big Short and Mark Addy, who is known for his roles in Game Of Thrones and Downton Abbey.

The programme also stars Annabel Scholey, Johnny Harris and MyAnna Buring.

Declan Lawn, from Ballymena, spent 10 years working as an investigative reporter for BBC Panorama. He also presented BBC Radio Ulster current affairs programmes.

The 42-year-old says he is "inspired by the capacity for television drama to act as a companion to journalism, telling powerful stories about how the modern world really works".

He said he was "delighted to have such a great cast" for Salisbury, "and grateful to everyone who told us their stories over the last year".

He added that it was a "privilege" to be able to tell the story of those that found themselves at the centre of events in in Salisbury.

"During our months of research we have been humbled to hear their stories, and to be able to tell them in this drama.”

Salisbury will air next year on BBC Two.

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