“Everyone knows who won. But hardly anyone knows how,” teases Benedict Cumberbatch in Channel 4’s new Brexit drama, Brexit: The Uncivil War. The Sherlock and Doctor Strange star plays Dominic Cummings, the leading strategist and Campaign Director of Vote Leave in the two-hour drama, written by James Graham (Quiz, The Vote, Coalition).
The Olivier and RTS-winning writer will use the drama to unpack the anatomy of the historic, high-stakes campaign to win the hearts and minds of the British people. Set primarily during the referendum, it will, for the first time, explore the myriad tactics employed to swing one of the most surprising referendum results in living memory. Directed by the award-winning Toby Haynes (Black Mirror, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Sherlock), the one-off drama will explore the data-driven political campaign behind one of the most contested, controversial government referendums in modern history. At a time when the ethics, legalities and political impact of data-mining has never been more debated, and when investigations examining possible links between Vote Leave’s campaign and data companies are making front page news, it’s a pertinent drama that brings into sharp focus the many weapons used in today’s political battlegrounds.
“I’m so excited – not to mention a little nervous – to have this chance to try and get under the skin of what happened during that historic vote,” says Graham. “I hope by going behind-the-scenes of the campaign, we’re able to interrogate the consequences of what happened during these 8 weeks that have changed the country forever. To work with this incredible team and Channel 4 to bring this story to life on screen is a real honour.”
The drama was commissioned earlier this year by Beth Willis, Head of Drama, with Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross on board as Executive Producers for their company House Productions. The film is produced by Lynn Horsford.
Now, we’ve got our first proper look at Cumberbatch as Cummings with the first trailer released by Channel 4 this week. He’ll be joined by Rory Kinnear (The Imitation Game, Skyfall) co-stars as Craig Oliver, Prime Minister David Cameron’s Director of Communications, overseeing the Remain campaign’s communications strategy.
The drama will air at an unconfirmed future date.