The Salisbury Poisonings, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, written by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, director, Saul Dibb.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08dqp3w/the-salisbury-poisonings-series-1-episode-1

Before Covid-19, the coronavirus, Salisbury was briefly in lockdown in the winter of 2018 after two Russian agents poisoned former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal  (Wayne Swann) who worked for MI6 (allegedly) and his daughter,  Yulia Skripal (Jill Winternitz) with polonium, a highly toxic and deadly nerve agent. This might have been a hard sell.

Now we’re au fait with the whole situation. As soon as Sergi and Yulia start spewing up, and people crowd around them, you’re shouting that the telly, get away from them, ya numpty. Don’t you know anything about the R number?

Then DS Nick Bailey (Rafe Spall) who’s leading the investigation wades right into the infection zone and, when he starts sweating and mopping his brow, you just know he’s got it. He goes to the hospital for a check-up. They send him home, as hospitals sent tens of thousands of elderly folks into care homes, to empty acute-care beds for sick people, malingerers, with a bit of flu, without testing them for Covid-19. We knew the DS would be back and it would be intensive care. We’re up to date with all that stuff.

You’d be sneering, when rooking police turn up at Sergei Skripal’s home and a neighbour with a spare set of keys offers to let him inside. Lucky for them, DS Nick Bailey tells them to stand down, ‘Do not go in that house!’ No personal protective equipment, we’re saying. What kind of bungling amateurs employed by Boris Johnson are we dealing with?

The hero, Tracy Daszkiewicz (Anne-Marie Duff) a civilian, director of public health and safety, needs to take charge. Which is quite a mouthful.  She’s got to give the police, council and traders the bad news. We’re shutting you down.  She’ll also need to employ trace and track. Salisbury city centre and the places were the Russian dissidents had visited would need to be locked down. All of this is so familiar; we wonder why anybody bothers arguing with her.

Of course, there are the couple that got away. Dawn Sturgess (Myanna Buring) and  Charlie Rowley (Johnny Harris). They’ve also been poisoned, but they’re invisible to the public eye, portrayed as alkies, so they don’t notice, while flinging back the booze. It’s not as if they’re real people.   I’m sure Tracy Daszkiewicz will find them, but won’t be able to save them.

We’re ahead of the curve here too. Not everybody is saved. It’s not all happy endings. But this is worth watching. Now we’re all experts, it’s easier. We’re more informed and that’s not a good thing. The price has been too high. I wonder who’ll play the weasly windbag Boris Johnson in the Covid-19, mini-series.