‘Far too soon’: Pandemic TV drama starring Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson accused of being ‘inappropriate’

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Louis Chilton
·2 min read
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Kenneth Branagh is set to play Boris Johnson in the forthcoming Sky Original series This Sceptered Isle (Getty)
Kenneth Branagh is set to play Boris Johnson in the forthcoming Sky Original series This Sceptered Isle (Getty)

Sir Kenneth Branagh will portray UK prime minister Boris Johnson in a TV drama set during the pandemic, it was announced yesterday (23 January).

Johnson’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been criticised by many in the media and general public. The official number of deaths is expected to exceed 100,000 next week.

This Sceptred Isle, an original drama created for Sky, will be based on testimony from real people living through the pandemic, including hospital and care home workers, and will see Death on the Nile star Branagh tackle the role of the PM. The series is not due to air until Autumn 2022.

However, after news of the project broke, many voiced their objection to its premise on social media, calling it “inappropriate” to produce while the pandemic was still ongoing.

“Far too soon,” wrote one Twitter user. “People are still placing headstones from the first wave. Please don’t release this.”

“I really wish they would stop dramatising contemporary political events,” wrote another.

“People are having enough of a hard time distinguishing truth from fiction as it is. This stuff helps not one bit.”

“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 drama about Covid, with Kenneth Branagh playing @BorisJohnson,” wrote someone else.

“Who asked for this? We’ve lived it, we don’t need to give it anymore air time!” wrote another exasperated Twitter user. “Also... Kenneth Branagh?! If this is what entertainment is going to be I’ll make my own fun!”

“Just to say, Boris Johnson absolutely does not deserve to be played by Kenneth Branagh,” wrote Empire writer Helen O’Hara. “If they want to make a serious film about his government and its many failings, that role belongs to Mr Blobby.”

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