'The Salisbury Poisonings': Anne-Marie Duff and Saul Dibb on paying tribute to Dawn Sturgess via MyAnna Buring
Actress Anne-Marie Duff and Saul Dibb tell MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) why it was important to tell Dawn's story
Almost four months after the 2018 Novichok poisonings crisis in the small British cathedral town of Salisbury, authorities discovered the contamination had somehow spread. Two British nationals, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess from Amesbury, which is 8 miles (13 kilometers) away from the site of the first attacks, were infected by the nerve agent and remained in the hospital fighting for their lives.
In the BBC series 'The Salisbury Poisonings', which has only just released for US audiences on AMC+, the show features a fact-based portrayal of both the 2018 poisonings that kept the small Cathedral town of Salisbury hostage.
Anne-Marie Duff as Tracy Daszkiewicz races against time and hopes to safeguard her city and contain the infection. She is almost successful when news of Dawn's death comes forward. During that time, in real-life, British media had portrayed Dawn as an alcoholic and a problematic woman who had brought this upon herself. But the truth of the situation was that the perfume bottle that infected Dawn was the bottle used by the Russians to poison the Skripals.
One of the many intentions of 'The Salisbury Poisonings' was to change the narrative of Dawn's story. They did this via actress MyAnna Buring, who played the role of a woman trying to rectify her life with earnestness. The show so pays tribute to the woman and mother that Dawn was. "Both Adam [Patterson] and Declan [Lawn], the writers of the show, had this great responsibility to tell the truth and certainly to her family as well," actress Anne-Marie Duff, who plays the role of Tracy, tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) in an exclusive interview. "Buring who plays her is a wonderful actor and she got to know the Sturgess family. As storytellers, you don't often get a chance to put a wrong right. But we did on this one, which was really, really lovely."
Director Saul Dibb, who also chatted with us this week, concurs. "It was a chance to redeem Dawn publicly because she was dismissed unfairly as a drug user. Someone who almost seemed to have kind of brought this on herself because she had a problem with alcohol, she would pick this thing up. That somehow her death didn't count in the way that somebody else's death might. And we all felt that that was a huge injustice. It was just very important to go in and talk to her family and explaining what we wanted to do and why we wanted to do it."
He adds how meeting the Sturgess family showed to him that they are just another ordinary family that was unfortunately caught in this whirlwind of terrorism. "It was just a kind of freak occurrence. And they wanted us to know that they were a tight-knit family. And that [Dawn's death] mattered."
'The Salisbury Poisonings' is currently streaming on AMC+.