Hitting our screens in 2019, HBO’s Chernobyl gave us a dark and gritty look at the infamous 1980’s Ukrainian nuclear disaster. The show quickly grew to become one of the highest-rated TV series on IMDB, and scored 10 Emmys and 9 BAFTAs. Here are 7 facts about Chernobyl, the TV series…
1) Chernobyl’s sister
If you thought the interior and exterior shots of the power station looked quite convincing, that’s because a lot of them were filmed on location at a power plant. Not at Chernobyl, thankfully, as extended stays are still not possible. Instead, the production was filmed at the Ignalina Nuclear Power in Lithuania, which is often called Chernobyl’s sister.
2) Soviet officials praised the series
Nikolai Tarakanov, a former soviet general who is played by Ralph Ineson in the show, has given great praise to the accuracy of the series. Russian minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky called it both respectful to soviet people and masterful.
3) A huge spike in tourism
Following the release of the series, which quickly became an international sensation (climbing to the top of IMDB’s list of highest rated tv series at one point), there was a spike in tourists visiting Pripyat and Chernobyl of around 40%.
4) Losing the Russian accents
To add realism, the series creator did intend for the actors to use Russian accents throughout the series. However, it became apparent early on in rehearsals that the accents were too distracting from the dialogue and the drama, so this idea was scrapped, and the cast used English accents.
5) A role was intended for Daniel Day Lewis
The role of Valery Legasov was originally intended for Oscar-collecting actor Daniel Day-Lewis. However, before the casting team began their work on the series, Day-Lewis retired from acting and the role went to Jared Harris instead.
6) The true death count has been hidden
It’s hard to accurately measure how many people died in real life from the Chernobyl disaster, because in 1988, the Kremlin gavean order that radiation illness or poisoning cannot be given as a cause of death by doctors or morticians.
7) The composer recorded sounds from inside a nuclear power station
Hildur Guðnadóttir landed the role of composer after Jóhann Jóhannsson, who had been scheduled to provide the score, passed away at the age of 48. To pull her haunting score together, Hildur traveled to Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, where much of the series was filmed, and recorded various sounds. Most of the sounds worked their way into the score.
There you have it – 7 facts about Chernobyl!