Kenneth Branagh will play Boris Johnson in TV series examining the UK's Covid-19 crisis

Monday, January 25
Ciarán Mather

It has been announced that renowned Northern Irish and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh will portray current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an upcoming TV series.

The Tenet and Murder on the Orient Express actor is set to play Mr. Johnson in a dramatized Sky TV series called This Sceptred Isle.

Starting with his appointment as Prime Minister, the series will follow Boris' career since 2019, and will also recount the first COVID-19 cases in the UK, Johnson's contracting of the virus, and the arrival of his youngest child.

Ultimately, the five-part series will focus on Boris' government's handling of the pandemic.

Zai Bennett, the Managing Director of Content at Sky TV, said in a statement about the series: '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.'

'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.'

However, some have criticised the unreleased series, claiming that it is in bad taste given the ongoing pandemic.

One Twitter user didn't hold back his criticism: 'When thousands of people are still dying, and many are still grieving thousands that died last year it seems inappropriate and frankly f***ing sick of Sky to be making a drama about Covid, with Kenneth Branagh playing Boris Johnson.'

However, some users have expressed their interest in the series, especially concerning how Branagh will portray the eccentric Mr. Johnson, with one commenter joking: 'I didn't know Kenneth Branagh did comedy.'

The 'too-soon?' controversy seems to echo that of the film Songbird, which focuses on a couple in a pandemic caused by a mutated strain of COVID-19 in the near future.

This Sceptred Isle will be directed by Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, Welcome to Sarajevo) who is also co-writer.

Tim Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, will act as a consultant.

Kenneth Branagh is set to return as both the director and lead star in the sequel to his 2018 Orient Express film, Death in the Nile, coming out later this year.