Trailer: Kenneth Branagh is Boris Johnson in Sky’s This England
James R | On 18, May 2022
Kenneth Branagh will play Boris Johnson in a new drama for Sky, and the first trailer gives us a closer look at his Prime Minister in action.
This England (formerly This Sceptred Isle) is co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom and is based on Boris Johnson’s tumultuous first months as UK Prime Minister. The drama traces the impact on Britain of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 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.
Produced by Michael Winterbottom’s Revolution Films and Richard Brown’s Passenger, the series will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW at an unconfirmed date later this year.
First look: Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson in This Sceptred Isle
25th February 2021
Production is now underway on This Sceptred Isle, Sky’s new original drama charting the events surrounding the coronavirus outbreak last year.
Kieron Quirke and Michael Winterbottom are teaming up for the limited series, which will follow the country in the first of the first wave of the pandemic. Quirke, who has a strong track record with BBC Three’s Cuckoo and BBC Two’s Defending the Guilty, has co-written the five-part drama with the Road to Guantanamo director, basing it on the first-hand testimony of people from all walks of life, from Number 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and hospitals and care homes across the country.
Winterbottom will direct all five episodes, while Kenneth Branagh will play Boris Johnson. While the programme is not expected to air until autumn 2022, Sky has released an image from set of Branagh in character as Boris, giving us a first look at the drama. Additional cast details have not yet been announced.
This Sceptred Isle: Kenneth Branagh to play Boris Johnson in Sky Original drama
24th January 2021
Kenneth Branagh will play Boris Johnson in This Sceptred Isle, a new Sky Original drama.
Kieron Quirke and Michael Winterbottom are teaming up for the limited series, which will chart the events surrounding the PM, the government and the country in the face of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Quirke, who has a strong track record with BBC Three’s Cuckoo and BBC Two’s Defending the Guilty, has co-written the five-part drama with Winterbottom, whose track record for fact-based dramas ranges from Welcome to Sarajevo and A Mighty Heart to 24 Hour Party People and The Road to Guantanamo.
The series will be produced by Fremantle, Richard Brown’s Passenger and Michael Winterbottom’s Revolution Films. The drama will trace the impact on Britain from the pandemic, and the response of scientists, nurses, and doctors as they worked to contain and overcome the virus. It is based on the first-hand testimony of people from all walks of life, from Number 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and hospitals and care homes across the country.
Winterbottom will direct all five episodes, with Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times, acting as a consultant on the series. This Sceptred Isle is the first project to emerge from a multi-year first look deal for scripted drama series struck by Fremantle and Passenger with Revolution Films.
Winterbottom said: “The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered forever. A time when the country came together to battle an invisible enemy. A time when people were more aware than ever of the importance of community. Our series weaves together countless true stories – from Boris Johnson in Number 10 to front line workers around the country – chronicling the efforts of scientists, doctors, care home workers and policy makers to protect us from the virus.”
Sky UK Managing Director of Content, Zai Bennett, added: “Covid-19 has presented once-in-a-generation challenges to the world, and in the UK the resilience and fortitude of the public over the past year has been nothing short of extraordinary. Portraying NHS staff and key workers on the frontlines of the extraordinary fight, to those in government facing unprecedented challenges; Michael Winterbottom has a clear and compelling vision in telling this remarkable story. The incredible creative talent Fremantle have assembled including the central performance from Kenneth Branagh will make This Sceptred Isle a drama we are proud to be part of telling.”
The series will begin filming in early 2021 and is expected to premiere on Sky Atlantic in autumn 2022.