LADbibleSkip to content
U OK M8?
Free To Be
Extinct
Advert

Latest

12 hours ago
Advert
12 hours ago
Advert

Most Popular

17 hours ago
Advert

The Real People Whose Stories Lie Behind The Chernobyl Series

The Real People Whose Stories Lie Behind The Chernobyl Series

Casting for a TV show that's based on a true story is never going to be an easy task, but Nina Gold absolutely nailed it with Chernobyl - and based on the reviews, it seems the cast did a stand-up job of portraying their real life counterparts.

The Sky and HBO mini-series, the finale of which airs tonight on Sky Atlantic, is based on the real disaster that happened at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine in 1986 - but who are the real people that the characters are based on?

Advert

Jared Harris played Valery Legasov. The British actor, who you'll recognise from shows such as The Crown and Mad Men, portrayed the scientist who was one of the first to respond to the disaster.

Jared Harris played Valery Legasov. Credit: HBO/Wikipedia
Jared Harris played Valery Legasov. Credit: HBO/Wikipedia

In real life, Legasov demanded that the surrounding areas should be evacuated, but in an effort to keep up the front of the Soviets having everything under control, his request was denied.

He was also pressured into lying in the official report of the incident. He attempted suicide in 1987, but was found dead in his apartment a year later, the day before he was due to present the results to the politburo. A section of his recording was deliberately deleted shortly after his death - as in the scene which opens the show in the first episode.

Adam Nagaitis played Vasily Ignatenko, the firefighter who was first on the scene to put out the blaze on the roof. He died two weeks later.

Advert
Vasily and Lyudmila Ignatenko. Credit: Wikipedia
Vasily and Lyudmila Ignatenko. Credit: Wikipedia

His pregnant wife Lyudmilla, played by Jessie Buckley, actually took care of the decomposing firefighters - as other nurses didn't want to approach them. Their baby girl Natasha died of cirrhosis and congenital heart disease four hours after her birth.

The couple were played by Jessie Buckley & Adam Nagaitis. Credit: HBO
The couple were played by Jessie Buckley & Adam Nagaitis. Credit: HBO

In another scene, we see Lyudmilla holding Vasily's shoes at his funeral - this was revealed to be because the firefighter was buried barefoot, as no shoes would fit him because of the effects of the radiation. HBO has been commended for keeping it as close to real life as possible

Remember that harrowing speech which results in three men volunteering to go into the reactor to die, in order to save millions?

Known as the 'Suicide Squad' thanks to their hopeless task, Valeri Bezpalov (played by Philip Barantini), Alexei Ananenko (Baltasar Breki Samper) and Boris Baranov (Oscar Giese) entered the chamber to release the water.

It's not clear what happened to the 'suicide squad' -part of the Chernobyl liquidators who helped with the clean up. Credit: HBO
It's not clear what happened to the 'suicide squad' -part of the Chernobyl liquidators who helped with the clean up. Credit: HBO

This is possibly the most mysterious set of characters - nobody really knows what happened. Some say they all died shortly after, while other sources say they lived a long life, as the water absorbed much of the radiation.

Anatoly Dyatlov, played by Paul Ritter, was the supervisor on the night of the disastrous test.

Anatoly Dyatlov, played by Paul Ritter, said he was blamed unfairly for the flawed design of the reactor. Credit: HBO
Anatoly Dyatlov, played by Paul Ritter, said he was blamed unfairly for the flawed design of the reactor. Credit: HBO

Dyatlov supervised the test at Reactor 4. In 1987, he was sentenced to 10 years in a labour camp - he was released early but died of heart failure in 1995.

Prior to his death, he wrote a book, saying he was a scapegoat and blaming the bad design of the reactor. it was later found that he threatened to sack staff if they didn't comply - but this could be a reflection of the pressure on him from his superiors.

The finale for Chernobyl airs tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.

Featured Image Credit: Sky/HBO

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into the world of music. Quickly realising that you can't pay your bills with guestlist, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]

Next Up

Gecko Found In Punnet Of Raspberries In Sainsbury's

...

3 months ago
Quentin Tarantino Rumoured To Be Working On A Django/Zorro Crossover

...

3 months ago
Woman's Mouldy Discovery Alerts People To The Existence Of Fridge Drip Trays

...

3 months ago
Crew Member Injured After Explosion On Set Of New Bond Movie

...

3 months ago