Sky Original series Chernobyl becomes IMDb's top rated TV show

Katie Rosseinsky
1 / 3
Russia makes own version of Chernobyl disaster series, blaming CIA agent for nuclear explosion following success of Sky Original mini-series

Sky Original drama Chernobyl has become IMDb’s top rated TV series, beating the likes of Planet Earth II and Game of Thrones.

The five-part show, which debuted on Sky Atlantic and HBO earlier this month, revisits the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

It details the events leading up to the explosion and explores the aftermath of the catastrophe, following the stories of those affected by the disaster and those charged with containing the nuclear fallout.

The Sky and HBO co-production has notched up an impressive average rating of 9.7 on film and TV website IMDb, based on feedback from more than 37,000 viewers.

Catastrophe: The new series dramatises the events of 1986 (Sky UK Ltd/HBO)

Planet Earth II and Breaking Bad both have a rating of 9.5, while recently concluded fantasy drama Game of Thrones is rated 9.4.

The Wire, another HBO hit, has a rating of 9.3.

Chernobyl has also proved popular on review site Rotten Tomatoes, picking up a score of 96 percent based on an aggregate of reviews, while Deadline reports that the show marked Sky Atlantic’s third best launch for an original drama.

Its first episode premiered to a cumulative audience of 1.7 million, placing it behind Fortitude and Thrones-esque fantasy epic Britannia.

Discussing its success, Sky's Director of Programmes Zai Bennett said: "This jaw-dropping Sky Original is gripping viewers across the UK and beyond for good reason - the writing and production are second to none, and the story is both fascinating and utterly tragic. This is must-watch TV, and we're delighted that audiences are enjoying it as much as we are."

True story: Emily Watson stars as Ulana Khomyuk (Sky UK Ltd/HBO)

The Chernobyl explosion, which is still considered to be one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, occurred during a routine safety check at the power plant near Pripyat, Ukraine.

Design flaws led to an explosion which released radioactive material into the atmosphere, reaching across the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and spreading as far as Scandinavia and some parts of western Europe.

Some 134 servicemen were hospitalised with acute radiation sickness, with 28 dying in the months afterwards. The long-term health implications of the disaster are still being determined.

The TV series dramatises the stories of those affected by the events, from Soviet politicians to power plant staff and their families.

The Crown star Jared Harris plays physicist Valery Legasov, a member of the response team, with Emily Watson cast as fellow scientist Ulana Khomyuk.

Stellan Skarsgard portrays deputy USSR Prime Minister Boris Schberbina, who led the government commission on the accident.

Chernobyl continues Tuesdays on Sky Atlantic at 9pm and is available to stream on demand on NOW TV