Following an explosion at the Ukrainian Chernobyl nuclear power station in April 1986, events unfolded that put the short and long term safety of millions of Europeans at risk.

Human error and naked ambition combined with obstinate arrogance resulted in one of the world’s worst man-made catastrophes – with the potential of much, much worse. As Professor Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) and Minister Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) are tasked to piece together the course of events of the fateful night, so individual stories unfold over the course of the five episodes.

Science mixes with the personal in Chernobyl as first response fire fighters, power plant engineers, miners and their families deal with the aftermath. As the local town of Pripyat is evacuated, many die, some immediately, many from radiation months or even years later. But it was the bravery of individuals that saw the prevention of a meltdown.

Powerful and moving in its telling as Legasov is torn between what he knows and what he is allowed to say, Chernobyl is deeply respectful and informative. With committed performances across the board, it also wears its humanity on its sleeve as it focusses on the human cost in terms of lives and livelihoods.

Rating: 84%

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