Sir Kenneth Branagh spitting image of Boris Johnson in new Sky drama

Can YOU spot the difference? Sir Kenneth Branagh looks spitting image of Boris Johnson alongside Ophelia Lovibond as wife Carrie as he transforms into PM for new Sky drama ‘This England’ about his first few months in No 10

  • The Oscar-winner is almost completely unrecognisable under make up as he plays Boris Johnson in the series
  • In a trailer for the show the actor can be seen with the Prime Minister’s trademark messy mop of blond hair
  • The series will chart the first months of Johnson’s time in No 10 including the impact of the Covid pandemic

Sir Kenneth Branagh looks the spitting image of Boris Johnson after undertaking a remarkable transformation to play the Prime Minister in a new TV series about his first few months in Number 10.

The Oscar-winner has stepped into the hefty shoes of the Conservative politician for the upcoming Sky Atlantic drama This England, which is set to air on the channel later this year. 

The series, which was previously titled This Sceptred Isle, will follow the first few months of Boris Johnson’s premiership and will focus on the impact of the first wave of the Covid pandemic. 

A teaser trailer for the show has been released by the channel, with Sir Kenneth, who recently won an Oscar for his coming-of-age drama Belfast, unrecognisable as the former Etonian.

Sir Kenneth Branagh, pictured here as Boris Johnson with Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Johnson in the show, is unrecognisable

The show will focus on Boris Johnson as well as his wife Carrie Johnson. Pictured are the real-life Boris and Carrie Johnson, seen here arriving at the Conservative Party Conference in September 2019

The 61-year-old Oscar winner can be seen sporting Mr Johnson’s trademark mop of messy blond hair as well as a prosthetic nose

Her coat covering her bump, this is the first look at Ophelia Lovibond as the pregnant Carrie Symonds in a five-part drama about Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis

Sporting the head of messy blond hair, and putting on the Conservative politician’s trademark voice, it is difficult to see any resemblance to the 61-year-old’s normal look.

Joining Sir Kenneth in the series will be Ophelia Lovibond as the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson, Andrew Buchan, who is playing former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and Shri Patel, who is playing Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Lovibond is known for her roles in Guardians Of The Galaxy and comedy series Feel Good, while she also had a recurring role as Katheryn ‘Kitty’ Winter in US drama Elementary. 

Sky said: ‘The drama takes us inside the halls of power, as Johnson (Branagh) grapples with Covid-19, Brexit, and a personal and political life wracked by controversy. 

Can you spot the difference? The show charts the first few months of Mr Johnson’s time in No 10, including the impact of the Covid pandemic. Both of these frames show him at Covid press conference’s, with the one from the show on the left and one from real life on the right

The photograph (right) shows Sir Kenneth Branagh, as PM Boris Johnson, visiting locals in the flood-hit Worcestershire town of Bewdley last March as part of the five-part series 

‘The events in government are interwoven with first-hand testimonies from around the UK, from the experts and scientists racing against time to understand the virus; the doctors, nurses and care-home workers on the frontline working tirelessly and heroically to contain and overcome it; and ordinary people whose lives were thrown into turmoil.’ 

The show has been co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, who previously said: ‘The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered forever. Our series weaves together countless true stories – from Boris Johnson in to front line workers around the country.’

The Sky Original drama, produced by Fremantle, Richard Brown’s Passenger and Michael Winterbottom’s Revolution Films, will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.

Michael has co-written the series with Kieron Quirke, and will direct all five episodes. He will also Executive Produce alongside Richard.

Sir Kenneth Branagh, pictured here while out of the role, is transformed for the Sky Atlantic drama This England, which had previously been called This Sceptred Isle 

This England will also have a scene showing Mr Johnson enjoying Chinese New Year celebrations in 2020. Pictured top is Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Boris, with the real Prime Minister pictured bottom

So who’s who in the new Sky Atlantic drama? Cast of actors bringing PM’s first few months of office to life 

Sir Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson

Sir Kenneth’s amazing transformation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured right at a Covid press conference) for the drama was unveiled for the first time last year with this picture (left)

Belfast-born Sir Kenneth is no stranger to making dramatic changes to his appearance for his roles. 

In recent years he has been seen sporting a gravity-defying moustache in his performances as Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

He directed and starred in two films as the famous detective in Murder on the Orient Express and its sequel, Death on the Nile.

And in 2018 he appeared at William Shakespeare in the film All Is True, something that required him to use prosthetics to increase the size of his nose.

This proved controversial with academics saying the nose he ended up wearing was actually too big for the Bard.

Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Johnson

Ophelia Lovibond (pictured left) will appear in This England as Boris Johnson’s future wife Carrie Symonds (pictured right)

Playing Carrie Johnson in the show is Ophelia Lovibond, who is known for her roles in Guardians Of The Galaxy and comedy series Feel Good.

She has previously made no secret of her disdain for the Conservative government, criticising Cabinet minister and Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg ahead of the 2019 general election, after images emerged of him lounging on the front benches of the House of Commons.  

‘This behaviour is an absolute disgrace,’ she wrote at the time.

‘Jacob Rees-Mogg’s slouching across the front benches during one of the most consequential debates in parliamentary history is the physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for parliament and the People.’

Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock

Andrew Buchan (pictured left) will also appear in the show, which is set to run for five episodes, as former Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured right)

Andrew Buchan is a common sight on UK TV screens, having had roles in Broadchurch, The Crown and Cobra.

As a stage actor he has performed in classic plays such as William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Richard II, as well as Arthur Miller’s The Man Who Had All the Luck. 

He featured in the third season of The Crown as Andrew Parker-Bowles, the former husband of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. 

He rose to prominance in 2013 in critically acclaimed ITV drama Broadchurch, in which he played Mark Latimer, father of murdered boy Danny Latimer. 

Shri Patel as Rishi Sunak 

Shri Patel (pictured left), who is 6ft 1in will play Chancellor Rishi Sunak  (pictured right), who is actually 5ft 6in in real life

Towering over the real Chancellor, some TV magic might be required to make 6ft 1in Shri Patel appear closer in stature to 5ft 6in Rishi Sunak.

Patel has appeared in small theatre productions and adverts for firms including Matalan.

He does have some experience of political acting – he portrayed an aide to the Prime Minister in American crime drama Pennyworth, a show based around the life of Batman’s butler, Alfred.

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