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These Are The Real People Included In HBO's 'Chernobyl'

Fans of HBO and Sky Atlantic's Chernobyl mini-series are remembering the real people involved in the actual 1986 disaster in Pripyat, Ukraine, as the rave-reviewed show draws to a close.

The gripping drama, which was rated as IMDb's best series ever, retold the story of the biggest, man-made nuclear disaster in which scores of people died in the explosion and in the years after through dangerous levels of radiation emitted into the atmosphere.

One person took to Twitter to heap on the praise for producers for "honouring the real-life heroes" as depicted in the four-part series, and exploring how the scale of the disaster was also covered up by those in charge.


The tweet read: "#Chernobyl is a terrifying exploration of what happens when a government chooses pride over its people, alternative facts over science. This show deserves all the awards for honoring the real-life heroes who sacrificed everything for truth -- and because it's incredible TV [sic]."

Alongside the tweet was an images of some of the real people involved in the disaster.

Jared Harris who portrayed Valery Legasov (bottom left) worked as the chief of the commission investigating the Chernobyl disaster.

Legasov demanded the area was evacuated and spoke openly about the safety and design risks in the Soviet Union's RBMK nuclear reactors. He wanted the design flaws addressed to prevent additional disasters worse than Chernobyl.

But he was met with pushback and found himself rubbed out of history by the Soviet Union as a result, meaning little information remains on him.


He took his life two years after the nuclear explosion, although Chernobyl and his daughter, Inga Valerievna, strongly suggested the disaster changed who he was as a person.

Credit: HBO
Credit: HBO

Also in the picture was Lyudmilla Ignatenko (top left), the wife of one of the first firefighters who went into the explosion after it happened, as portrayed by rising Hollywood star Jessie Buckley.

Lyudmilla was married to Vasily Ignatenko (played by Adam Nagaitis), who extinguished the fires but was exposed to lethal doses of radiation as a result.

She looked after her husband - and the other firefighters - on the burns wards after the other nurses didn't want to approach them.

Lyudmilla and Valery were just two of the unsung heroes of the disaster, who tried to uncover the truth.

Plant director Viktor Bryukhanov also features in the image (top right), alongside actor Con O'Neill.

Bryukhanov is said to have underestimated the radiation levels, and reported to Moscow that the reactor was still intact, which meant evacuation was delayed. The plant director received a 10-year prison sentence, but only served five due to illness.

Mickhail Gorbachev, portrayed by David Dencik (bottom right) was the leader of the USSR before it was dismantled in 1991. He was widely criticised for his delayed response to the disaster.

Gorbachev is still alive today at 88-years-old, and is still involved in Russie's politics. He won a Nobel Prize in 1990 for bringing the Cold War to an end.

Credit: HBO
Credit: HBO

Emily Watson appears as Ulana Khmyuk, who was not based on a real person, and Stellan Skarsgård is Boris Shcherbina, a Soviet politician who supervised crisis management following the Chernobyl disaster.

Featured Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons/HBO/Sky Atlantic

Topics: News, HBO, TV News

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews is an NCTJ trained Journalist at PRETTY52. She specialises in Fashion and Beauty Journalism, and has experience at a range of online and print publications and joined the team in 2017. Contact her -

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