This England: When is Sky Atlantic’s Boris Johnson series released? Who is in the cast with Kenneth Branagh? All you need to know

This England comes to Sky Atlantic on NOW this September and tells the story of Boris Johnson and his government's reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 28 September 2022 - 10.28am
Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson
Stream every episode of This England on Wednesday, 28 September on Sky Atlantic with NOW

This England, airing on Sky Atlantic with NOW on 28 September, will be released only a few weeks after Boris Johnson has left No.10 Downing Street.

The six-part drama series will attempt to tell the inside story of how the former Prime Minister ran the country during a global health crisis and how things quickly changed, after Johnson was victorious in the 2019 General Election.

Brexit rows, Covid-19 and huge Government power battles, it’s been an eventful few years. To put it mildly.

Not surprisingly, this unprecedented collision of tumultuous events has been turned into a TV series and will feature Kenneth Branagh trying on some prosthetics to play the PM.

Here is everything you need to know about This England…

The must-watch TV shows this autumn

What is the This England release date?

Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson in This England

This England starts on Wednesday, 28 September on Sky Atlantic with NOW.

The series launch has been pushed back one week because of the official period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

All six episodes will be available to stream from the launch.

What is This England about? 

This England will focus on the early months of Boris Johnson’s time in power as Prime Minister.

After winning the 2019 election, the series will pick up as Johnson has to deal with the fall out of his Brexit promises and the dramatic events caused by Covid-19.

Sky Atlantic has said that the series will explore Johnson’s “controversial personal and political life” and also take us into the halls of power when the politicians had to work with experts and scientists to grapple with the global health crisis.

The series will also interweave stories with those who battled Covid-19 on the frontline; the doctors, nurses and health workers; and ordinary people who had their lives turned upside down when the crisis began in 2020.

Responding to criticism that the series may be coming too soon after the pandemic, Kenneth Branagh told The Times: "There will be those who say it’s too soon. I think these events are unusual and part of what we must do is acknowledge them.

"It might allow people to process a little of what went on. Any way of understanding it better is important."

This England trailer

Get a first look at Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson and some of the other major players during the Covid pandemic in the full trailer for the series.

This England cast

Andrew Buchan as Nick Hancock
Andrew Buchan as Nick Hancock
  • Kenneth Branagh - Plays Boris Johnson
  • Ophelia Lovibond - Plays Carrie Symonds
  • Andrew Buchan - Plays Matt Hancock
  • Tim Goodman - Plays Stanley Johnson
  • Alec Nicholls - Plays Sir Patrick Vallance
  • James Corrigan - Plays Isaac Levido
  • Rachel Sophia-Anthony - Plays Lola Aldenjana
  • Simon Kunz - Plays Andrew Mills
  • Greta Bellamacina - Plays Cleo Watson
  • Simon Paisley Day - Plays Dominic Cummings
  • Bitu Thomas - Plays Priti Patel
  • Hiten Patel - Plays Asif
  • Shri Patel – Plays Rishi Sunak
  • Simon Lowe – Plays James Slack
  • Derek Barr - Plays Lee Cain

Talking about the casting of Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson, director and co-writer Michael Winterbottom told Deadline; “Ken said yes. But he only had eight weeks, in March and April, so I was like, ‘OK, that sounds just about possible’.

“Who else would play Boris Johnson? I hope Boris is flattered that we picked Kenneth Branagh to play him. Ken’s done a great job but, to be honest, it’s not a character piece.’

“You don’t see anyone’s back story, you don’t see who they are, their families, you just see what they’re doing in relation to the pandemic.

“So, in a way, it’s the narrative of the pandemic that drives the whole series.”

Who are the makers of This England?

Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson and Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Symonds in This England

The series is co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom.

Winterbottom is known for his work on the travel comedy series The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and films including 24 Hour Party People, Greed and A Cock and Bull Story.

Talking about the series, Michael Winterbottom said: “The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered forever. 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.”

Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times and author of Brexit book All Out War, is acting as a consultant on the series

Kieron Quirke (Cuckoo, Defending the Guilty) co-wrote the series.

Stream every episode of This England on Sky Atlantic with NOW on 28 September.