The anticipated TV drama based on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has finally been given a title – This Sceptred Isle.
If you’re wondering about the inspiration for such a title, it’s a phrase describing England, quoted by John of Gaunt in William Shakespeare’s play Richard II.
The Michael Winterbottom series, which was first confirmed in June, will see the celebrated The Trip director helm as well as co-write the drama, with Tim Shipman, the political editor of The Sunday Times, acting as a consultant.
This Sceptred Isle will recount Mr Johnson’s election win, moving onto the first Covid-19 cases in the UK, and cover the PM falling ill with the virus in April, and the arrival of his son, Wilfred, who was born in May.
According to producers, the series ‘will tell the true story of the biggest national and personal crisis to face a government leader since World War II’.
No word yet on whether it will cover former senior aide Dominic Cummings controversial trip to Barnard Castle during the pandemic, as well as his recent exit from Downing St.
The title was reported by Variety alongside the news global producer and distributor Fremantle has signed a first-look deal with Winterbottom and his production company Revolution Films, which will develop and produce scripted series and films, with Fremantle co-producing and distributing the projects worldwide.
The deal is done in collaboration with Richard Brown and his company Passenger, with Brown and Melissa Parmenter from Revolution Films serving as executive producers on the political drama.
Winterbottom, also known for helming Greed and 24 Hour Party People, said: ‘We are very excited at the prospect of developing our film and television production with our new partners at Passenger and Fremantle. We want to provide a space where directors can have the freedom to develop and tell the stories they are passionate about.’
Andrea Scrosati of Fremantle added: ‘Our global drama slate is growing thanks to unique creative partnerships that we are building across the world.
‘Michael is such an incredibly sophisticated and prolific auteur; his vision is inspiring, and I admire the fact he continues to challenge the status quo.
‘I am so proud that he and Melissa have chosen Fremantle as their creative partner and I look forward to the great content we will develop together.’
Fremantle has also recently signed deals with creatives including Pablo Larrain and Juan de Dios Larrain, Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Sorrentino, Neil Gaiman and Neil Cross.
While the cast for the series and further details about the plot are yet to be announced, we had a crack at guessing the line-up when the series was first announced.
Watch this space.