Sir Kenneth Branagh to play Prime Minister Boris Johnson in coronavirus pandemic drama

1 month ago 14

Thespian Sir Kenneth Branagh is set to play Boris Johnson in an upcoming drama about the coronavirus pandemic.

This Sceptred Isle, a show commissioned by Sky, will depict events that occurred during the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, following the inner workings of the government at that time and the plight of medical workers on the frontline.

The five-part series is based on first-hand testimony from people in various sectors of the population including care homes, hospitals, SAGE, the Department of Health and No 10 Downing Street.

Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, who will direct every episode of the programme, has co-written it alongside writer Kieron Quirke.

Meanwhile Tim Shipman, the political editor of The Sunday Times, is to act as a consultant on the Sky Original drama.

Michael, whose previous work includes films Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland and 24 Hour Party People, explained that the series ‘waves together countless true stories – from Boris Johnson in Number 10 to frontline workers around the country – chronicling the efforts of scientists, doctors, care home workers and policy makers to protect us from the virus’.

‘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,’ he said.

Executive producer Richard Brown added that Michael and Kieron ‘have written remarkable and meticulously researched scripts which powerfully dramatise these extraordinary events that continue to affect us all.’

Zai Bennett, managing director of content at Sky UK, paid homage to Michael’s storytelling ability, stating: ‘Michael Winterbottom has a clear and compelling vision in telling this remarkable story.’

This Sceptred Isle is due to start filming in early 2021, with the series expected to be released in autumn 2022 on Sky Atlantic.

This isn’t the first time Sir Kenneth, 60, has played a real person on screen.

In 2018, the actor portrayed William Shakespeare in All Is True opposite Dame Judi Dench as the playwright’s wife Anne Hathaway.

A decade ago, he depicted Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn, a film that documented the making of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl starring Marilyn Monroe.

In September, Matt Lucas made headlines with his impression of the Prime Minister during a skit for his debut on The Great British Bake Off.

The actor and comedian went viral earlier in the year for his version of the politician’s lockdown address.

This Sceptred Isle is expected to air in autumn 2022.

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