Sir Kenneth Branagh pictured at Soho Hotel – Rii Schroer
Sir Kenneth Branagh will play Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an upcoming Sky drama based on the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.
The BAFTA and Emmy award-winning actor, who has starred in Valkyrie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Dunkirk will portray Mr Johnson in This Sceptred Isle, a five-part drama will chart the events surrounding the Prime Minister, the government, and the country in the face of the first wave of the global pandemic.
This Sceptred Isle will tell the tale of some of the most devastating events to ever befall the United Kingdom, and of a Prime Minister leading in these unprecedented times, Sky said.
The drama will trace the impact on Britain from this once in a generation pandemic, and the response of scientists, nurses, and doctors as they worked tirelessly and heroically to contain and overcome the virus.
It is based on the first-hand testimony of people from all walks of life; from Number 10 Downing Street, the Department of Health, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and from hospitals and care homes across the country.
Sir Kenneth in Dunkirk – Melinda Sue Gordon
Sir Kenneth, 60, is four years older than Mr Johnson, and it is not yet known who will play other central figures in the pandemic.
Sir Kenneth was described as being “just like Jeremy Corbyn” by actress Zoë Wanamaker in 2015.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, she said: “He took a lot of flak years ago, just like Jeremy Corbyn, people throwing stuff at him because he is an individual,” says Zoë Wanamaker. “I think it’s to do with envy in this country.”
Sir Kenneth married actress Emma Thompson in 1989 and divorced six years later following an affair with Helena Bonham-Carter.
In February 2018, Thompson opened up about the affair during a fundraising event for #MeToo by making a comparison to her character in the film Love Actually who is cheated on by her on-screen husband played by the late Alan Rickman.
She said: “That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through.
“I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn’t meant for me.
“Well it wasn’t exactly that, but we’ve all been through it.”
Sir Kenneth is now married to art director Lindsay Brunnock.
Winterbottom has made a number of dramas including the award-winning films Welcome to Sarajevo, A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People and The Road to Guantanamo.
In a statement, he said said: “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”.
Filming is expected to begin shortly and the series will air in Autumn 2022.