‘What was the point?’: This England trailer criticised by viewers for ‘sympathetic’ portrayal of Boris Johnson

·1 min read

The new trailer for This England has prompted mixed responses from viewers amid claims that the series is “sympathetic” towards Boris Johnson and the Conservative government.

Sky’s forthcoming limited series stars Kenneth Branagh as the outgoing prime minister and will recount his first days in office and the government’s handling of the early stages of the Covid pandemic.

The five-part drama also stars Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Johnson and Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock.

On Thursday (18 August), the full trailer was released. The minute-long clip includes previews of scenes showing Johnson going into intensive care after testing positive for Covid, as well as his regular coronavirus addresses to the nation.

Across social media, some have been quick to share their doubts about the television drama.

“Who asked for a Boris Johnson biopic? No, thank you,” asserted one unimpressed viewer, while another asked: “Why does this look sympathetic towards them?”

One viewer shared their disdain for seeing Branagh in this role, writing: “Kenneth Branagh stop terrorising me, please I still haven’t recovered from Belfast.”

Others took issue with the timing of the series, arguing that not enough time had passed for a retrospective look at Johnson’s actions.

“I really don’t think we need to re-live the last 2 years,” a Twitter user remarked; another said: “Give this a few years and I would be in; it just seems weirdly untimely and not appropriate with an upcoming new prime minister and the Covid inquiry opening next year.”

However, the series itself has not yet been seen by viewers, meaning that the extent to which it sympathises with Johnson is still a matter of speculation.

This England will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW on Wednesday 21 September.