The BBC’s three-part drama The Salisbury Poisonings closely follows the real-life events in the small Wiltshire cathedral city, introducing us to some of the people we may have read about in the papers (DS Nick Bailey, Dawn Sturgess, Charlie Rowley) and some we may not (like Tracy Daszkiewicz).
Here are the characters you’ll see on screen – and the actors who play them:
Anne-Marie Duff plays Tracy Daszkiewicz
Who is Tracy Daszkiewicz? Wiltshire’s Director of Public Health, who was a more central figure in coordinating the response to the nerve agent poisonings in Salisbury than most people would realise. Anne-Marie Duff says: “Even when you google this subject, she’s hardly there and it seems such an irony because she was very much there and very much in the middle of it all, orchestrating and negotiating and circumnavigating things… She is the kind of person who doesn’t let go of the truth and will hunt it down. She is not interested in bureaucracy or people pleasing. She’s just absolutely interested in taking care of people in a very true way, that’s her innate personality.”
What else has Anne-Marie Duff been in? Her varied acting career has included recent roles as Erin Wiley in Sex Education, the wonderful Ma Costa in His Dark Materials, and Marjorie Mayhew in On Chesil Beach. As a four-time Bafta nominated actress, her TV appearances have included Shameless (as Fiona), Parade’s End (as Edith Duchemin), From Darkness (as Claire Church), Watership Down (as the voice of Hyzenthlay), The Virgin Queen (as Queen Elizabeth I), and Doctor Zhivago (as Olya Demina). She was in the 2015 movie Suffragette as Violet Miller, and 2009’s Nowhere Boy as Julia.
Rafe Spall plays Nick Bailey
Who is Nick Bailey? As Rafe Spall puts it, “my character, Nick Bailey, was a high-flying, extremely dedicated, intelligent police officer who had made the rank of Detective Sergeant. He has a wife and two children. He’s at work on a Sunday and he hears over the radio that there are two people with a suspected fentanyl overdose, and he decides to go there as its walking distance from him. Then these desperate circumstances ensue that change his life, and his family’s lives, forever.”
What else has Rafe Spall been in? Rafe Spall (son of actor Timothy Spall) has had a busy few years, starring as Jason in the Apple TV+ series Trying and George in the BBC’s new The War of the Worlds adaptation. Other recent credits include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Men in Black: International, Roadies, Swallows and Amazons, and The BFG (as Mr Tibbs). Spall is known for his roles in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy of movies, playing Noel in Shaun of the Dead, Andy in Hot Fuzz, and making a cameo in The World’s End. His movie credits include One Day, A Good Year, The Big Short, and Life of Pi.
MyAnna Buring plays Dawn Sturgess
Who is Dawn Sturgess? A victim of the Novichok poisoning. Describing Dawn as “a multifaceted human being”, MyAnna Buring says: “She had highs and lows, she was struggling but she was trying to make her life good and be a better mother, better daughter and better person. That was the journey she was on. The general consensus was that most media outlets had portrayed quite a simplistic and dismissive version of Dawn Sturgess, suggesting she was a homeless addict who passed away because of her lifestyle choices. And that’s simply not true. She was a complicated and wonderful human being who left behind an incredible family, and a partner, Charlie, who was also poisoned.”
What else has MyAnna Buring been in? The Swedish-born actress recently starred as Tissaia in the Netflix drama The Witcher. Viewers may also have seen her as Elizabeth in the TV series One Night, DI Helen Weeks in In the Dark, Long Susan in Ripper Street, or Edna Braithwaite in period drama Downton Abbey. And Twilight fans will recognise her as Tanya Denali from the Breaking Dawn movies.
Johnny Harris plays Charlie Rowley
Who is Charlie Rowley? Dawn’s partner, who also came into contact with the nerve agent.
What else has Johnny Harris been in? In recent years, he’s played Franklin Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Agamemnon in the TV series Troy: Fall of a City, Bruno Barnardi in Medici, and Ronnie Morgan in Fortitude. Across a varied career, he’s also starred as Mick in This Is England ’86, ’88 and ’90, and appeared in London to Brighton, The Fades, Dorian Gray, Snow White and the Huntsman, and From Darkness; and he’s and written and starred in his own movie, Jawbone (2017), which earned him a Bafta nomination.
Darren Boyd plays Supt Dave Minty
Who is Supt Dave Minty? Superintendent Dave Minty joined Wiltshire Police 16 years ago. According to his bio on the police website, he is married and has a young son – and for his role in response to the Salisbury nerve agent attacks, he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in the 2020 New Year Honours list.
What else has Darren Boyd been in? Darren Boyd will be known by many for his comedy work, including sketch show Smack the Pony and the role of Jake in Green Wing. Others will know him for shows including Spy (for which he won a Bafta), Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Fortitude (alongside his Salisbury Poisonings co-star Johnny Harris), Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, and Dirk Gently. He recently played the horrible Edward Murdstone in The Personal History of David Copperfield, and Frank Haleton in Killing Eve.
Annabel Scholey plays Sarah Bailey
Who is Sarah Bailey? Nick Bailey’s wife, and the mother of their children.
What else has Annabel Scholey been in? Most recently, Annabel Scholey has starred as divorce lawyer Nina in The Split, and as Amena in the TV series Britannia. She’s also played Contessina in Medici, and Gemma Nunn in Inspector George Gently. Other credits include Jane Eyre, Being Human (as Lauren Drake), Personal Affairs, and 2014 movie Walking on Sunshine.
Nigel Lindsay plays DCC Paul Mills
Who is DCC Paul Mills? Deputy Chief Constable at Wiltshire Police. He had a key role in responding to the Novichok attack in Salisbury.
What else has Nigel Lindsay been in? He’s been on our TV screens a lot recently! He played Rhodri in The Last Kingdom, DSI Tom Kendricks in The Capture, Tony Walsh in White Gold, and Sir Robert Peel in Victoria. Other notable credits include Safe, Innocent,Unforgotten series two, Four Lions, and The Tunnel.
William Houston plays Dawn’s husband Ted
Who is Ted? Tracy’s husband.
What else has William Houston been in? Aside from being a prolific video game voice actor and stage actor, William Houston has appeared in Will, The Indian Doctor, Endeavour, and 2009’s Sherlock Holmes.
Mark Addy plays Ross Cassidy
Who is Ross Cassidy? Sergei Skripal’s friend and neighbour. The two bonded when Sergei moved to Salisbury, and it was Ross who drove him to pick up his daughter Yulia from the airport shortly before she was poisoned.
What else has Mark Addy been in? Quite a lot of things. He played Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones, Dave Horsefall in The Full Monty (earning a Bafta nomination), Andy in Trollied, Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, DC Gary Boyle in The Thin Blue Line, and Hercules in Atlantis. Other recent roles have included Mr Bakewell in the Downton Abbey movie and DS Stan Jones in White House Farm.
Clare Burt plays Mo Cassidy
Who is Mo Cassidy? Ross’s wife, and a friend of the Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
What else has Clare Burt been in? She played Debbie Vickers in Cuffs, DC Vicky Trowell in Top Boy, and Doss Moore in Tina and Bobby. She also made a recent appearance as Dr Stuart in an episode of Friday Night Dinner.
Stella Gonet plays Caroline Sturgess
Who is Caroline Sturgess? Dawn’s mother. She is a retired civil servant.
What else has Stella Gonet been in? The Scottish actress has recently played Leah in the Sky comedy Breeders, Elizabeth in The Cry, Margaret Lambert in an episode of The Crown, and Mrs Lipsey in Man Down. A little further back, she starred as Jayne Grayson in Holby City and as Beatrice in The House of Elliott; and on the stage, she’s performed in plays including Hamlet, Ophelia, and Handbagged (playing Margaret Thatcher).
Ron Cook plays Stan Sturgess
Who is Stan Sturgess? Dawn’s father.
What else has Ron Cook been in? Prolific actor Ron Cook has done a bit of everything since his first on-screen appearance in 1975. He’s been in Les Misérables, The City and the City, Mr Selfridge (as Mr Crabb), The Diary of Anne Frank, Little Dorrit, Hot Fuzz (as George Merchant), Chocolat, Thunderbirds, The Black Adder, and Death in Paradise.
Melanie Gutteridge plays Claire Sturgess
What else has Melanie Gutteridge been in? Fans of The Bill may remember Melanie Gutteridge as PC Emma Keane. Since leaving that role, she’s been in shows including Coronation Street, Not Going Out, Doctors, and London Kills.
Kimberley Nixon plays Hannah Mitchell
Who is Hannah Mitchell? Tracy’s counterpart from central government.
What else has Kimberley Nixon been in? She is perhaps best-known for plays Josie in Fresh Meat, or for playing Alison White in New Blood. Other credits include The Accident, The Left Behind, Outlander, Critical, Hebburn, and Cranford.
Michael Shaeffer plays Stephen Kemp
Who is Stephen Kemp? Stephen Kemp has been sent from Whitehall by the national government.
What else has Michael Shaeffer been in? He was Sergeant Yelland in Agatha Christie drama The ABC Murders, the sinister Longcross in Bodyguard, Steven Mills in Rellik. On the big screen, he was General Corssin in the Star Wars movie Rogue One.
Sophia Ally plays Gracie
Who is Gracie? Dawn’s daughter, who was 10 at the time of her mother’s death.
What else has Sophia Ally been in? She played Young Dotty Edison in The Current Wawr, and has since appeared in My Zoe, Curfew, and a number of short films.
Judah Cousin plays Toby
Who is Toby? Tracy and Ted’s son. (She also has older children, but Toby is the only one to feature in the TV series.) Toby loves his mother and, when she becomes incredibly busy at work, he’s frustrated that she doesn’t have time for him any more.
What else has Judah Cousin been in? He played Elmer in Otzi and the Mystery of Time.
Andrew Brooke plays Alistair Cunningham
Who is Alistair Cunningham? Tracy’s colleague at Wiltshire. He gets things done, like erecting barriers around the city.
What else has Andrew Brooke been in? A prolific TV and film actor, Andrew Brooke has recently appeared in After Life, Hitmen, Britannia, A Confession, Angel Has Fallen, Midsomer Murders, and Harlots. His other credits include Prime Suspect 1973, Babylon, Da Vinci’s Demons (as Grunwald), PhoneShop, and Doctor Who (as The Gunslinger in 2012’s A Town Called Mercy).
Wayne Swann plays Sergei Skripal
Who is Sergei Skripal? A former Russian military intelligence officer, who acted as a double agent for the UK. He was found out, arrested and sentenced in Russia; but in 2010 he was allowed to settle in the UK as part of a spy swap. On 4th March 2018, he and his adult daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury, where they were discovered unconscious on a bench. However, they both survived the attack.
What else has Wayne Swann been in? His credits include Faultlines Across the Water, Love in the Age of Fear, and Long Forgotten Fields.
Natalie Klamar plays Sergeant Tracy Holloway
Who is Sergeant Tracy Holloway? One of the first two officers to reach the Skripals.
What else has Natalie Klamar been in? The actress is best-known for her stage work, including roles in productions of Cleansed, All’s Well That Ends Well, A Doll’s House, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I Want My Hat Back, and Hamlet. On TV, she’s made appearances in Vera, Grantchester, and Patrick Melrose; and back in 2001 she made her screen debut as the Slytherin Keeper in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The Salisbury Poisonings aired on 14th-16th June 2020 on BBC One at 9pm – check out what else is on with our TV Guide
The Salisbury Poisonings arrives on AMC’s new subscription service AMC+ on Thursday 1 October 2020.