When I heard that Kenneth Branagh was performing as Boris Johnson in a drama, I thought he had started a new career as a puppeteer.
It turns out I was mistaken and Branagh is himself portraying Johnson – although (one hopes) under heavy make-up.
It’s for a Sky drama, This Sceptred Isle. One images the title is ironic. It covers the early days of the Covid-19 crisis in the UK.
As Johnson was hardly visible at that time, one may safely conclude that the role is a cameo.
This may be a matter of relief to Branagh (less time in the prosthetics) and to his friends and family (less time having to look at him ‘in character’).
I did run into difficulty finding an image of the actor in the role.
Was it this?
Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson?
Couldn't they have gotten the torturer from Princess Bride?
He wouldn't even need to learn new lines. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/iFz7ErkaPu
— El Christo (@ElRaynerista) February 25, 2021
"Sneak peak at Kenneth Branagh's portrayal of Boris Johnson in upcoming drama" pic.twitter.com/Zfnj8eDJFz
— Laz, Lazarou Monkiest of Terrors 3.5%🏳️🌈 (@FrancisMaudeAdv) February 25, 2021
Maybe not. Ah! Here it is:
So this is Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson in a series about the beginning of the Pandemic
Given Johnson’s absence from the helm at that critical time, we can safely assume that it’s a bit part pic.twitter.com/1XCdyqKvmt
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) February 25, 2021
Note that I am not alone in believing that the role will be brief.
Some of the other comments on the social media are similarly cutting:
I think Kenneth Branagh playing Boris Johnson is hilarious. Emma Thompson should play all of the exes and baby mamas, in an assortment of wigs.
— William Shakespeare (@Shakespeare) February 25, 2021
(Emma Thompson was Branagh’s first wife. He left her to have an affair with Helena Bonham-Carter.)
But this makes the best point:
I don't care how much Kenneth Branagh looks like @BorisJohnson for Sky film, I think it is in extremely poor taste that it is even being made. Around 140,000 dead already,thousands more to come. It is bad enough having to hear the real Boris Johnson, much worse if you've lost.
— Matthew Payne (@Matthew82069336) February 25, 2021
People have lost friends and loved ones to the virus, and Johnson is directly responsible for the vast majority of those deaths.
It is indeed in extremely poor taste that a drama is being made about it – unless that film exposes Johnson and his government to the harshest possible criticism for their miserable failure to cope with the situation. It is a failure that continues to the time of writing.
But I expect it will be another arse-kissing whitewash. Let’s see Ken Loach do a version of this story instead.
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