Parents of policeman in Salisbury Novichok attack slam BBC

Parents of policeman who nearly died in Salisbury Novichok attack on home of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal slam BBC’s plan to ‘sensationalise’ ordeal for TV drama

  • Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was left fighting for his life after Novichok attack 
  • Spoke of ’emotional battering’ he suffered after he became an accidental victim 
  • BBC announced it commissioned two-part drama series about Salisbury incident
  • Det Sgt Bailey’s parents hit out at ‘inappropriately premature’ plans for TV drama

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was contaminated with Novichok

The parents of a police sergeant poisoned in the Salisbury Novichok attack have today hit out at the BBC’s plans to ‘sensationalise’ the incident in a TV drama.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was left fighting for his life after inadvertently coming into contact with the high-grade nerve agent that was intended for Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

The 39-year-old spent two weeks in hospital, including a spell in intensive care, and later spoke of the ’emotional battering’ and revealed he had ‘lost everything’ in the wake of the incident. 

Last week, the BBC announced it had commissioned a two-part series about the attack.

But DS Bailey’s parents Steve and Sue Bailey, from Sandleheath in the New Forest, Hampshire, have slammed the ‘inappropriately premature’ plans to turn their ordeal into a drama, revealing it was still ‘very raw’. 

The home of Sergei Skripal that DS Nick Bailey visited after the pair were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre

Parents pen letter over ‘sensationalist’ drama

In a letter, Mr and Mrs Bailey wrote: ‘This is inappropriately premature for the people of Salisbury and in particular for the victims and their families.

‘As the parents of Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who was poisoned by the nerve agent, we fully agree that our family, as well as the families of the other victims, don’t need this as a reminder.

‘We are all still trying to come to terms with what happened last year.

‘The BBC Panorama programme, broadcast last year, on the Salisbury nerve agent attack was informative and a well-balanced documentary.

‘It’s disappointing that they want to follow it up with a drama. The people of Salisbury deserve a break from this.

‘The BBC producer’s promise to ‘focus on the extraordinary heroism with which ordinary people reacted to the crisis’ is just an excuse to sensationalise an episode in our lives and in the lives of the people of Salisbury which is still very raw.’

DS Bailey, Mr Skripal and the Russian double agent’s daughter Yulia were all taken to Salisbury District Hospital after the Novichok attack on March 4, last year. 

DS Bailey had visited the Skripals’ home after they were found slumped on a bench in the city centre.

In the hours that followed DS Bailey became gravely ill as medics faced a race against time to save him from the affects of the poison. 

The police officer spent two weeks in hospital, while former Russian special forces colonel Mr Skripal and his daughter spent almost three months being treated there.

It was not until 15 days after the attack that detectives realised the Skripals and Nick Bailey had come into contact with Novichok when it was sprayed on the door handle of the former spy’s home. 

The drama will be written by former Panorama reporter Declan Lawn and producer and director Adam Patterson.

The pair promised the series, which is in development and set to air on BBC Two, would focus on the ‘extraordinary heroism with which ordinary people reacted to the crisis’.   

Wiltshire Police officer DS Bailey returned to duty in January this year, having revealed he had lost his house and cars in the subsequent deconamtion. 

He, his wife Sarah and their children also lots their possessions in the clean-up.

DS Bailey’s parents said they did not need the BBC drama as a ‘reminder’ of what happened to their son, adding: ‘This is inappropriately premature for the people of Salisbury and in particular for the victims and their families.’

Sergei Skripal narrowly survived being poisoned with nerve agent in Salisbury alongside daughter Yulia (left) last year

In a statement, released after the series was announced last week, writers Mr Lawn and Mr Patterson said: ‘We feel extremely privileged to be telling this story.

‘Extensive, meticulous research is at the heart of how we like to work and we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Salisbury who have opened up to us over the past few months and continue to do so.’

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, added: ‘The poisonings in Salisbury shocked the nation and had a huge impact on an unsuspecting community.

‘This drama will capture the bravery, resilience and personal experience of the local people who faced a situation of unimaginable horror, so close to home.’

The cast for the show, which is due to air on BBC Two, has not yet been announced. 

The attack killed one person – Dawn Sturgess – who accidentally came into contact with the poison and led to a major decontamination operation in Salisbury which lasted for months

Britain blames Russia for the attack and two GRU agents using pseudonyms Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who have been unmasked as Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin

Two further victims came into contact with a perfume bottle which the attackers carried the poison in.

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in hospital, while her partner Charlie Rowley is still recovering.

The British government has accused Russia of ordering the attack, and minister have said it was ‘highly likely’ to have been ordered by Vladimir Putin himself.

Authorities subsequently identified the perpetrators as two Russian GRU agents who entered the country using passports bearing the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, which they said were almost certainly pseudonyms.

Open-source intelligence website Bellingcat later identified the two men as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga and Dr. Alexander Mishkin.

Russia has denied having anything to do with the poisoning, and has rebuked the British government while trying to discredit evidence around the chemical used.

The country’s UK embassy has also repeatedly requested consular access to the Skripals, and accuses Britain of violating international norms by failing to allow it.

Skripal was a former Russian spy turned double-agent for the UK security services who settled in the UK in 2010 following the Illegals Program spy swap.

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