Our new favourite …


What’s it called?


What’s it about?

The 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, which killed between 4000 and 16,000 people, depending on who you believe. Specifically the mini-series, created by HBO and Sky, looks at the aftermath to the disaster and the various cover-ups and buck passing exercises which went on as Soviet investigators tried to find out what had actually happened on the night of April 26 that year – and who was to blame.

Who’s in it?

The series stars Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, the high-ranking chemist brought in to oversee the clean-up operation. He hangs himself inside the first 10 minutes – two years to the hour after the explosion – but returns as the disaster and the investigation unfold in flashback. Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson also feature as politician Boris Shcherbina and nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk, while Adam Naigaitis plays firefighter Vasily Ignatenko, one of the first people on the scene.

Best bits so far?

Being based on real events gives the series a grittiness and a sobering sense of tragedy but there’s no denying the power of the dramatic action scenes following the initial explosion. But from start to finish Chernobyl is a consummate piece of film-making.

Where can I find it?

The two-disc, five-episode mini-series is available now on Blu-ray and DVD (Acorn Media, £29.99/£24.99)

Fun fact …

The score is by Icelandic cellist and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who has collaborated with Throbbing Gristle and Animal Collective in her time, and uses sounds recorded by her at a nuclear power plant.