Filming has begun on a three-part factual drama that examines the impact of the 2018 novichok poisonings on the community in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The cast for the three-parter, entitled Salisbury, is led by Anne-Marie Duff, Rafe Spall and Mark Addy. Also featured is MyAnna Buring, who has been starring in another drama focusing on a Russian attack on British soil: the play A Very Expensive Poison, which tells the story of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The BBC has not said who the various actors are playing.

According to the BBC, Salisbury will focus on how ordinary people and employees in the public services reacted to a crisis, displaying heroism as their city became the focus of an unprecedented national emergency.

The aim is to capture the bravery, resilience and, in some cases, personal tragedy of the unsuspecting locals after the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, collapsed on a bench in Salisbury in March 2018 after being poisoned with the nerve agent novichok.

Three months later, as the cathedral city began to return to normal, a local couple, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, also fell ill from novichok poisoning. Sturgess died while Rowley survived but continues to suffer mentally and physically.

Sturgess’s parents, Stan and Caroline, have said they still have many unanswered questions and called for more clarity from the British government about the poisonings. In an interview with the Guardian in February, they spoke passionately about their sense of injustice that Dawn, a mother of three from a very respectable family, was unfairly portrayed as a homeless drug user.

Lucy Richer, an executive producer for the BBC, said: “We are honoured to be telling this astonishing, powerful and moving story on the BBC.”

Writers Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn said: “It’s a privilege to be able to tell the story of people who were deeply affected by the events 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.”

The drama is being directed by Saul Dibb, whose previous work includes The Line of Beauty, The Duchess and Bullet Boy.

Filming will take place at various locations in south-west England. A crew has already been spotted in Weston-super-Mare.

When the commissioning of the drama was announced in May it was billed as a two-parter but it it has expanded into three. No broadcast date has been revealed.

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