This England TV drama on Boris Johnson's premiership - will he watch it?

·3-min read

When Michael Winterbottom decided to dramatise the first months of Boris Johnson's time in office, no-one would have anticipated that by the time it aired, Mr Johnson would have navigated not just Brexit and a global pandemic, but no longer be PM.

But the British director told Sky News he wouldn't revisit the plot in light of the party-gate allegations and the pace at which the story changed because his focus was how Mr Johnson handled the pandemic.

He hopes however that the TV drama remains relevant and that Mr Johnson will tune in.

"I don't think he will be flattered," said the director perhaps best known for the factory Records biopic, 24 Hour Party People.

"But I hope he will watch it and see it's certainly not an attack on him. It's not intended as an attack."

Sir Kenneth Branagh is transformed by the magic of prosthetics to look remarkably like the former PM in the highly anticipated six-part drama for Sky.

Ophelia Lovibond who plays Carrie Johnson admitted to Sky News that she rarely saw Kenneth Branagh out of his "Boris costume" and it was "uncanny looking at him".

Authenticity and objectivity was a priority for the film makers.

"If you have a hostile opinion of Boris, you'll probably think the series is too gentle on him. And if you love Boris, you'll probably think the series is too hard on (him)," said Winterbottom.

Lovibond told Sky News she tried to avoid news of real events: "Someone would leave a newspaper on set, and I would tell myself, 'Oh I shouldn't read that because it's going to be something I don't know yet'. It was fresh. I had never been in a situation playing a character like this before."

Describing getting into character she added: "There isn't as much footage of her, it's not like you could do an impersonation - I had to do a deep dive of her on YouTube".

"Playing her made my curiosities about her motivations peak," added the Guardians of the Galaxy actress.

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Director Winterbottom collated experiences from people across government, hospitals, care homes and science to inspire a "fast-paced narrative".

"We talked to people who had been in Number 10 and worked through the whole of the first wave there. We got their first-hand accounts."

"Obviously, it's a six-hour drama: it's a massive simplification of what was happening over a period of months. But we tried to keep it as accurate and as detailed as possible," he added.

While based on real events, there is some artistic licence, the series suggesting Carrie is a strong influence on Boris Johnson's political choices.

Actress Ophelia Lovibond admitted to Sky News: "She of course does know what she's talking about because of her background within the political sphere, as to whether or not she should have been giving it is the bigger question."