Brexit and its legacy will influence political dramas for years, says playwright

·2-min read

Playwright and dramatist James Graham predicted future political plays will be about Brexit or its legacy, as he was made an OBE.

Graham wrote the Emmy and Bafta-nominated TV drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, but he said he is not looking to create a sequel.

Speaking after receiving his honour from the Prince of Wales during a St James’s Palace investiture ceremony, Graham said: “The story just keeps rolling and rolling and the impact of that vote, but I think to be honest I’ve done as much as I can find interesting about that particular campaign.

“But I think in a weird kind of way almost every political play, or political drama, will in some way be about Brexit or the legacy or the inheritance of Brexit, we won’t be able to escape it, it’s defined the moment we’re living through.”

Graham has a string of successful plays behind him including Ink, about the early days of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and This House, which was praised by some MPs for its rendition of life in the Commons.

Investiture at St James’s Palace
James Graham receives his award from the Prince of Wales (Aaron Chown/PA)

The writer said he was honoured to be made an OBE, adding: “It’s not what you expect when you take your first touring show on the road and you have to build the sets in the back of a pub somewhere.

“I think theatre in particular has this perception that it’s very sort of glamorous, but it’s often incredibly hard work and especially at the end of the pandemic.

“It’s really hit freelancers particularly hard, whether you’re a playwright or you’re an actor or musician.”

Graham said he remains optimistic about the future of the arts, with the prospect of venues being able to welcome full audiences next week.

He said: “I was really pleased that the Government made the right decision to give sector-specific support and it was at scale, that saved tens of thousands of jobs.

“There’s been downsides as well. I understand it’s a difficult situation for the Government to predict but the yo-yoing and the back and forth between opening and closing, opening and closing – that’s been devastating for finances but also morale.

“But it’s a really exciting moment to finally be entering the summer and theatres opening up.”

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