Sky and HBO announce Chernobyl as first commission from new global drama partnership

First commission from Sky and HBO’s high-end drama partnership announced earlier this year

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Chernobyl, based on powerful real-life events, is to be the first commission from Sky and HBO’s high-end drama partnership announced earlier this year. It will dramatise the true story of one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

The five-part mini-series, starring Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men) and produced by Sister Pictures and The Mighty Mint, will be shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Ireland. It is the first Sky/HBO project to be greenlit through an international partnership to develop big-scale drama, under a $250m multi-year co-production investment deal. 

Chernobyl is a tale of lies and cowardice, of courage and conviction, of human failure and human nobility. The mini-series focuses on the heart-breaking scale of the nuclear plant disaster that occurred in Ukraine in April 1986, revealing how and why it happened, and telling the shocking, remarkable stories of the heroes who risked their lives to save others.

Jared Harris will play Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the Kremlin to investigate the accident.

Gary Davey, managing director, content, Sky, said: “In Chernobyl, Craig Mazin has achieved something unique – his script is second to none, effortlessly combining the visceral, the tragic and the heroic perspectives behind this devastating event. The scale of the production makes it a perfect first project for our co-production partnership with HBO, encapsulating our ambition to develop high-end drama with international viewpoints and casting. We look forward to working closely with HBO to bring this important story to Sky Atlantic viewers.”

Kary Antholis, president, HBO miniseries and CINEMAX programming, said: “From the moment Craig Mazin pitched us the story, we were convinced that this all-too-true tale of horror and redemption needed to be told. It will engage – and enrage – our viewers, as well as audiences around the world.” 

Written by Craig Mazin (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), Chernobyl will be executive produced by Carolyn Strauss (two-time Emmy® winner and PGA winner for Game of Thrones), Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, The Tunnel) and Craig Mazin, and co-executive produced by Chris Fry (Humans, The Smoke) and Johan Renck. It is commissioned by Sky’s director of programmes Zai Bennett and head of drama Anne Mensah. 

Jared Harris recently starred in The Crown and received an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Mad Men. His film credits include Allied, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Lincoln, among others.

Chernobyl will begin filming in Lithuania in Spring 2018. It will be available later on Sky Atlantic and TV streaming service NOW TV in the UK and Ireland, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany and Austria. 

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