Kenneth Branagh (actor, Tenet) will play British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a new series for Sky Atlantic titled This Sceptred Isle, according to Deadline. The series will be a five-part series dramatizing the events surrounding the current Prime Minister’s time in office, specifically highlighting the British government’s response to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The news branch of Sky Atlantic, Sky News, posted about the casting news on their Twitter, @SkyNews:
COVID-19: Kenneth Branagh to play Boris Johnson in new TV drama charting PM’s handling of pandemic https://t.co/GPVYa5U0TE
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 24, 2021
This Sceptred Isle, based on first-hand testimony from government employees and health care workers, will examine how the global pandemic has effected Great Britain and its people. Via Deadline, those in development on the series have spoken to people from Number 10 Downing Street, the British Department of Health, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and hospital and nursing home workers across Britain.
The drama is a deal between Michael Winterbottom (director, The Trip) and Richard Brown (producer, True Detective), head of Freemantle’s Passenger production company. Winterbottom and Kieron Quirke (writer, Cuckoo) have co-written the series with Winterbottom set to direct all five installments of the limited series.
Discussing the involvement of Winterbottom on the project, Sky UK Managing Director of Content, Zai Bennett commented, “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.” (Deadline)
Branagh most recently starred in Christopher Nolan’s time-bending action thriller Tenet (2020). He will additionally return to his role as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile, a highly anticipated sequel to Murder on the Orient Express (2017), when it releases in September 2021.
While production on This Sceptred Isle has yet to start, principal photography is slated to begin in early 2021. The series has an expected premiere date sometime in the fall of 2022.