Sky buys rights to TV drama about Boris Johnson's first year as prime minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, stand in Downing Street, London, to join in the applause...

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, stand in Downing Street, London, to join in the applause during Clap for Carers - Credit: PA

Sky has brought the rights to a television drama about Boris Johnson's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his first year as prime minister.

This Sceptred Isle is a five-part series focusing on Johnson's appointment as prime minister, the Covid-19 cases in the UK, through to him falling ill with the virus, and the arrival of his son.

The series will trace the impact on Britain from the pandemic, and the response of scientists, nurses, and doctors.

It is based on the first-hand testimony of people inside Number 10 Downing Street, the Department of Health, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and from hospitals and care homes across the country.

It will be directed by Michael Winterbottom, who will also co-write, while Tim Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, will act as a consultant.


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Winterbottom has co-written the series with Kieron Quirke, and will direct all five episodes. Sir Kenneth Branagh will play Boris Johnson.

Winterbottom said: “The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered forever.

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“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”.

Zai Bennett, managing director of content at Sky UK, said: “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 and Now TV in the autumn of 2022.

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