TV & Radio

Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Boris Johnson revealed in first clip of new Sky drama This England

Sky Atlantic has dropped a first-look teaser at its new drama This England, starring Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson.

The show, formerly known as “This Sceptred Isle”, is based on the prime minister’s tumultuous first months in Downing Street and sees him attempt to steer Britain through the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sky’s official synopsis reads: “The drama takes us inside the halls of power, as Johnson (Branagh) grapples with Covid-19, Brexit, and a controversial personal and political life.

“The events in government are interwoven with stories from around the UK, from the experts and scientists racing against time to understand the virus; the doctors, nurses and care-home workers on the frontline working tirelessly and heroically to contain and overcome it; and ordinary people whose lives were thrown into turmoil.”

In Johnson’s signature stumbling, muttering, Etonian voice, Branagh can be heard saying at one point in the clip: “The single best thing we can all do is wash our hands…”

Another unidentified character in the voiceover announces: “I have a hunch that Johnson will come to regret securing the premiership.”

The series is co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, whose previous credits include Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon comedy The Trip, as well as wealth satire Greed.

It also stars Ophelia Lovibond as Johnson’s wife Carrie and Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock.

After news of the project broke earlier this year, many voiced their objection to its premise on social media, calling it “inappropriate” to make the show while the pandemic was still ongoing.

“People are still placing headstones from the first wave,” wrote one Twitter user. “Please don’t release this.”

The Independent’s Adam White wrote: “We’re still living through an era of deep sadness and rampant government incompetence – who’d want to watch it all over again with ad breaks?”

This England will air on Sky in autumn 2022.

Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson

Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock

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