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Polonium and the Piano Player - Part 1

Ep1 of 2: Derek Conlon, a Dublin piano player, gets sucked into one of the world's most notorious assassinations, the 2006 poisoning of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London - becoming forever intertwined in a world of Russian murder & deceit (2020)

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Additional audio

Polonium and the Piano Player - Part 2

Documentary Maker: Robert Mulhern

More Information

Polonium and the Piano Player - Part 1

Part 2 of Polonium and the Piano Player is available here

A searing new insight into one of the world's most notorious assassinations - the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. 

On 1 November 2006, ex-KGB spy Litvinenko was attacked with one of the deadliest substances known to man: polonium-210. 

At the time, he was in the piano bar of the five-star Millennium Hotel in London's Mayfair. 

Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive material made in a nuclear facility. Just one gram of the substance has the potential to kill millions. 

On that November afternoon, it was dropped into Litvinenko's cup of green tea by two secret agents. 

But the ex-spy was not the only victim of an attack believed to have been sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and which left a trail of radioactive contamination right across Europe. 

Hundreds of members of the public were exposed to the nuclear poison - none more so than this documentary's central character, Derek Conlon. 

Mr Conlon, from Dublin, was the resident piano player at the Millennium Hotel. 

Pianist Derek Conlon, accidentally drank from the same radioactive cup used to poison Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 

That day, his life became forever intertwined with Litvinenko's and he crossed into a world of espionage, murder and deceit. 

Narrated by Diana Magnay

Produced by Robert Mulhern

Polonium and the Piano Player is a Sky News Storycast production, first published in July 2020 as a 4-part podcast series

First broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 19th September at 1pm

Repeated on RTÉ Radio 1, Sunday 20th September at 7pm

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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