‘Criminal surrounded by idiots’: Actor Dan Stevens stuns One Show with brutal attack on Boris Johnson

Actor Dan Stevens shocked viewers by responding to a question about his latest work by launching a savage attack on Boris Johnson, branding the prime minister a “criminal” who shold resign after he was fined for breaking his own Covid laws.

The Downton Abbey star appeared on the BBC’s The One Show to discuss Gaslit, a new US drama series – about the Watergate scandal – which he stars in opposite Hollywood giants Julia Roberts and Sean Penn.

Focusing on some of the lesser-told stories that brought Richard Nixon’s criminality to light, the limited series, produced by Universal, predominantly centres on Nixon’s infamously loyal attorney general John Mitchell and his wife, Martha, who became a whistleblower.

Opening the interview this evening, presenter Alex Jones quickly surmised the programme’s plot before introducing “our lovely Dan here”.

Asking him to explain how Gaslit varied from the many dramatisations of Watergate, Ms Jones said: “The series you’re doing, what’s the take on it?”

“Well, what you’ve got is a criminal for a leader, who is wrapped up in a messy war, embroiled in a stupid scandal and surrounded by ambitious idiots, and really should resign,” Mr Stevens, 39, said.

He then paused and pretended to look confused before continuing: “No, I’m sorry that’s the intro to Boris Johnson. I’ve just said the intro to Boris Johnson, I’m so sorry.”

Both Ms Jones and her co-presenter Jermaine Jenas looked speechless when Mr Stevens made the remark, with Mr Jenas having to turn away from the camera to let out a chuckle.

Gasps could also be heard in the BBC studio but Mr Stevens swiftly composed himself and got back to promoting his new series. “No, Gaslit takes an interesting approach to Watergate, you know, it foregrounds a lot of characters that are often swept aside,” he said.

“In particular, the character Martha Mitchell, who was married to the attorney general [and is] played by the wonderful Julia Roberts.”

The off-script moment sent ripples through social media, with thousands of Twitter users instantly responding to Mr Stevens’ remarks.

“A round of applause for Dan Stevens,” fellow actor Nicholas Pegg said.

“Sometimes, heroes appear where you least expect to find them!” Irish journalist Andrew Quinn, posted, adding: Dan Stevens, you absolute legend!”

Another Twitter user told her followers: “This is the best thing you will watch all week.”,

Meanwhile, others spared a moment for those behind-the-scenes. “You just know that the producers briefed him to ‘keep it light’ before going on too,” John Cullen said on Twitter.

Mr Stevens’ comments came a day after Mr Johnson, along with his wife, Carrie, and the chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined by the Metropolitan Police over a surprise birthday event held for the PM in No 10’s Cabinet Room during lockdown.

All have apologised and paid their fixed penalty notices but the prime minister and Mr Sunak have faced calls to resign.

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