It was quite the week for British politics, with the scandal leading to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation briefly making America look tame by comparison.
After it was revealed that the controversial politician had promoted a member of Parliament to a senior whipping position despite knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against the man, Johnson faced a series of high profile defections and resignations within his party. Though he resisted calls to resign for as long as he could — as he had done in the past — the resignations ultimately snowballed until he could no longer remain in power.
In the entertainment world, his resignation immediately prompted speculation that “This England,” an upcoming Sky miniseries starring Kenneth Branagh as Johnson, would be forced to shoot additional scenes. The show generated some buzz when it released the first footage of Johnson as Branagh, and many thought that the creative team would be unable to resist portraying the politician’s chaotic downfall.
But new reporting from Variety has revealed that no reshoots are planned and the show, which is currently in post-production, has no plans to reference Johnson’s resignation. The reasoning is that the show focuses on Johnson’s handling of the first half of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is ultimately about England’s response to the disease more than it is about Johnson himself.
“The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered forever,” said creator Michael Winterbottom when he first described the show. “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.”
In addition to Branagh, “This England” stars Simon Kunz, James Corrigan, Rachel Sophia-Anthony, Derek Barr, Alec Nicholls, Robin Morgan, Andrew Buchan, Simon Treves, Aimee Kelly, Hiten Patel, Joe Bannister, and Greta Bellamacina. The series has not announced a release date, but is currently on track to air this fall.