The drama will be helmed by director Michael Winterbottom and promises to chart the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government’s response to it, and the personal impact on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who fell ill with the virus.
Now we have our first look at legendary British thespian Sir Kenneth Branagh, 60, in the role of Boris.
Beneath a wig of blond hair, makeup, prosthetics and a suit, he’s clearly embracing the role of Mr Johnson, now 56.
Tweeting out the image of Sir Kenneth in the role, Sky TV revealed when to expect the drama.
They penned: “No, you’re not seeing things. That’s Kenneth Branagh as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the first day of filming This Sceptred Isle.
“This Sky Original drama will be coming to your TVs in Autumn 2022…”
However, Twitter users have quickly responded to the image of Branagh with a central complaint: he looks too neat compared to the real PM.
One person tweeted: “Hairs too tidy !!!”
Another concurred, penning: “The mop looks tidy anyhow [smiling emoji].”
Meanwhile, a different Twitter user opined: “Congratulations – you’ve made him look like Andrew Neil.”
Boris Johnson attending Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) during a socially distanced and hybrid session in the House of Commons
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Finally, one Sky follower concluded he looked closer to Boris’ father Stanley Johnson, writing: “Looks more like @StanleyPJohnson playing the role of @BorisJohnson.”
To which Sky themselves responded: “So close then?”
The original tweeter then replied: “Brilliant. Need to do a time lapse video of the transformation of Kenneth Branagh for the role. Would be great to see. #makeup.”
The Sunday Times’ political editor Tim Shipman serves as a consultant for the series, whose book All Out War was previously used as the basis of Channel 4 and HBO drama Brexit : The Uncivil War.
Speaking about the series, Winterbottom said in a statement: “The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered forever.
“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.”
The series is said to be based on accounts from the the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Department of Health, and hospitals and care homes in the UK.
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 was first reported in June last year, with reports of Kenneth’s casting in January.