Theatre News

Ophelia Lovibond to play Carrie Symonds and Simon Paisley Day to play Dominic Cummings in Sky Covid series

More casting for the drama has been confirmed

Ophelia Lovibond and Simon Paisley Day
Ophelia Lovibond and Simon Paisley Day
© Dan Wooller

Further casting has been unveiled for the Sky drama This Sceptred Isle, which is to be led by Kenneth Branagh as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Ophelia Lovibond (The Bay At Nice) will play Johnson's fiancée Carrie Symonds, while Simon Paisley Day (The Lorax) will play the government's senior advisor Dominic Cummings.

The series will explore Johnson's first six months in office as the pandemic erupts on British shores – a period when legions of doctors, nurses and front-line workers sacrificed their time, health and often lives to help treat those affected by Covid with their efforts often widely underreported in the media.

This Sceptred Isle is said to be based on first-hand testimonials of those working in Downing Street, in SAGE, in the Department of Health, in hospitals and care homes.

A new look at Branagh as Johnson was released

Michael Winterbottom has co-written the series with Kieron Quirke, and will direct all five episodes. Winterbottom has a strong track record with dramas grounded in facts – winning awards for films like Welcome to Sarajevo, A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People and The Road to Guantanamo.

The title takes its name from John of Gaunt's famous speech from Shakespeare's Richard II. Johnson has been depicted on stage a plethora of times – including the recent The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson at the Park Theatre. The show had a subsequent tour that finished just before the pandemic struck.

The series is expected to be released in autumn 2022, and has begun shooting. It will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV, being produced by Fremantle, Richard Brown's Passenger and Michael Winterbottom's Revolution Films.

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