As if we hadn’t already seen enough of Boris Johnson’s melting ham of a visage, Sky has apparently felt it proper to bring us a biographical series, This England, about the (soon-to-be) ex-PM’s time in Downing Street amid the Covid crisis.
It’s a really wild thing to behold: Kenneth Branagh will portray Bo Jo, and while initial photos were actually quite stark in resemblance, it’s clear now the trailer is out that they were picking some very illusory angles. Not only is it very, very obviously Branagh in a mask and a shed-load of prosthetics, some shots betray the uncanny look of a man on an undercover skit show — that or the pilot for a grim Bo’ Selecta revival.
What’s more, it’s co-written and (partially) directed by Michael Winterbottom, although he stepped down quite soon after filming began (reportedly due to health issues). You know, the fella who did Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland, 24 Hour Party People with Steve Coogan… yeah, wild.
Anyway. In case you’re looking forward to it for any reason or, more likely, you’re morbidly intrigued — similar to watching a wild hog being fed into a comically oversized blender — here’s everything we know about the upcoming [checks notes] Boris Johnson series.
Who’s playing Dominic Cummings, Matt Hancock and Rishi Sunak in This England?
Well, they’re obviously in it, aren’t they? Yes, the trio of political grifters you’d rather eject yourself to the moon than share an evening with are all set to appear in This England — and they’re portrayed by some of British TV’s proper talents.
Andrew Buchan, who has previously appeared in the likes of Industry, All the Money in the World and The Crown (as Andrew Parker Bowles, no less) comes in as Matt Hancock. The resemblance is actually… kinda on point, if you squint? (Sorry, Andrew.)
London theatre regular and Brexit: The Uncivil War star Simon Paisley Day will be Dominic Cummings, presumably because Benedict Cumberbatch was too busy doing another Marvel flick.
Shri Patel, for his part, plays Rishi Sunak. We’re not going to call him “dishy”, but Patel is alarmingly hot. Probably too hot? It’s that classic Hollywood-ification of real-world figures, y’know.
We’re yet to catch a glimpse of a fictionalised Liz Truss, but we’re hardly convinced that Truss herself isn’t an object of fiction, so…
Is there a trailer for This England?
Yes, there is. It’s tonally baffling: on the hand, this is a series manifestly being driven as a hard-hitting biography, as you can tell from the ominous gong being struck every two seconds or so, partnered with the rousing Shakespeare voiceover faltering into an introspective murmur… the tension, the conflict, the drama!
On the other, your central subject is Kenneth Branagh in a Boris Johnson mask evocative of Michael Myers dressed up as William Shatner. In some shots, it looks like it’d fly off with a gust of heavy wind.