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This England: viewers have mixed reaction to Kenneth Branagh's new Boris Johnson drama

All six episodes have dropped on Sky and NOW

this england reaction
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
29 September 2022
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New political drama, This England kicked off on Wednesday evening, and it seems that viewers have been left pretty conflicted over what to make of the Sky Atlantic series, which sees Kenneth Branagh take on the role of Boris Johnson.

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The six-part docudrama series recounts the former UK Prime Minister's time in office during the onset of the Covid pandemic in early 2020 and the knock-on effects it had on both his personal and professional life. Taking to Twitter after sitting down to watch the series, one viewer said: "This England is proving really upsetting, watching the pandemic again is bringing back awful memories."

WATCH: What did you make of docudrama series This England?

Many more echoed this, writing that they thought the drama has aired "too soon" after the events it depicts for them to enjoy seeing it dramatised. 

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Meanwhile, a third said they had given up on the show - which is available to watch in its entirety on streaming service NOW - after two episodes as they found it "too upsetting".

This England© Photo: Sky

Do you think the series has aired too soon?

However, it wasn't all bad news as plenty of other viewers were full of praise for the series, especially Kenneth's performance. "This is an amazing piece of work from Michael Winterbottom," someone said. "Kenneth Branagh is unnervingly good as Boris Johnson, in a very unsettling look and account of the government handling of the pandemic. The equivalent of watching a car crash in slow motion. #ThisEngland."

This England ep1© Photo: Sky

Kenneth Branagh takes on the role of Boris Johnson in the series

Another wrote: "Thought the first ep of #ThisEngland was really good. I don't think it lets Boris off the hook - most damning of all perhaps is that he vanishes from the screen for about 20 minutes as the crisis takes root."

A third told their followers: "Ignore the 'too soon' doubters - #ThisEngland is brilliant, vital telly with an important story to tell."

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Will you be watching This England? The synopsis for the show reads: "This England, based on Boris Johnson's tumultuous first months as Prime Minister, traces the impact on the country of the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. The drama takes us inside the halls of power as Johnson grapples with Covid-19, Brexit, and a controversial personal and political life. 

"The events in government are interwoven with stories from around the country, 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."

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