This England: Who stars alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in drama series about Boris Johnson?

The resemblance is truly uncanny.

September 28th 2022

This England: Who stars alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in drama series about Boris Johnson?

Sir Kenneth Branagh is set to star as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a controversial drama This England airing tonight.

The Sky Atlantic programme, which was previously titled This Sceptred Isle, will follow the first few months of Mr Johnson’s tenure, leading up to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

The six-part series will also delve into the Tory leader’s own bout with the virus after he was taken to intensive care in 2020, as well as the party-gate scandal that dominated the headlines.

Covering one of the most challenging periods in recent history, the series, co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, will also include stories from the medics and care workers working on the frontline.

As well as following Mr Johnson and his then-fiancé Carrie Symonds, Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock are also played by actors in the series, as are Rishi Sunak and Professor Chris Whitty.

Sir Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson

Sir Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson in This England
That’s one hell of a transformation (Picture: Sky/Getty Images)

After the trailer was released in May, fans were amazed by Sir Kenneth’s striking resemblance to the former PM as the Murder on the Orient Express actor has basically disappeared in the transformation.

From the facial structure to the hair, and even the pretty spot-on voice, fans were stunned to see Sir Kenneth’s new look.

After a first look image was shared last year, one person tweeted: ‘I mean props to the make up department I cannot pull Branagh out of those prosthetics…’, while another called it an ‘incredible transformation’.

Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Symonds

Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Symonds
Sir Kenneth wasn’t the only one to transform into his role as Ophelia depicts Carrie (Picture: Getty/Sky UK Ltd)

Ophelia Lovibond plays Mr Johnson’s wife, Carrie Johnson (née Symonds), who was pregnant with their first child together Wilfred during the early months of the pandemic.

Lovibond has previously starred in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as Carina, and elsewhere featured in comedy series Minx.

Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock

Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock
Andrew plays Matt Hancock back when he was still the health secretary (Picture: SKY/PA)

Andrew Buchan, who has previously appeared in series including Broadchurch, The Crown and Industry, plays former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock played a vital part during the first year of the pandemic, before he stepped down from his role after leaked CCTV showed him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo in breach of the social distancing guidelines he helped create.

Simon Paisley Day as Dominic Cummings

Simon Paisley Day as Dominic Cummings
Simon Paisley Day plays Dominic Cummings (Picture: Sky/EPA)

Simon Paisley Day takes on the role of Dominic Cummings, who was Chief Adviser to Mr Johnson until November 2020.

Mr Cummings was the Tory leader’s closest and most controversial aide before he was forced to resign after weeks of public scrutiny over his notorious trip to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’ during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Paisley Day has previously starred in Doctor Who and The Crown, and also played General Quinn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Shri Patel as Rishi Sunak

Shri Patel as Rishi Sunak
Shri Patel stars as Rishi Sunak (Picture: Sky/Reuters)

Shri Patel plays Rishi Sunak, who, during Mr Johnson’s time as Prime Minister, was Chancellor of the Exchequer after replacing Sajid Javid.

Patel has previously starred in Emmerdale.

Jimmy Livingstone as Chris Whitty

Jimmy Livingstone as Chris Whitty
Jimmy Livingstone plays Professor Chris Whitty (Picture: Sky/PA)

Professor Chris Whitty, who has served as Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Adviser since 2019, is played by Jimmy Livingstone, who has voiced characters in games like Elden Ring.

Elsewhere, the series sees The Midwich Cuckoos star Alec Nicholls as Patrick Vallance, physician and scientist who has served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government since 2018, and appeared on screens around the nation during Covid-19 briefings.

Luther star Anthony Howell plays epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who was a government advisor on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and also led the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team.

Meanwhile, Downing Street’s former Director of Communications Lee Cain is played by Casualty actor Derek Barr.

This England airs tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.

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