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‘This England’ title for Boris Johnson pandemic film rubs some the wrong way, pleases others

20 May 2022 2 minute read
Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson

The title of a new film about Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic – This England – has pleased some but irked others, who said that it should have a title that reflects all of the UK.

The film was originally titled ‘This Sceptred Isle’ and the name change has not as of yet been explained.

The new five-part miniseries starring Kenneth Branagh is written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, and will explore the tumultuous early months of Johnson’s time in office.

Health is devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, meaning that the UK Government only handled the pandemic in England alone, although their decisions on foreign travel, in particular, had a big influence elsewhere.

But satirist and scriptwriter Armando Iannucci was among those unhappy with the title. “If it’s about a ‘U.K. Prime Minister’ and a U.K.-wide pandemic, why This England?” he asked.

Times Radio Journalist Mariella Frostrup was also quizzical: “Surely we can we come up with a better title? ⁦Suggestions please?”

“Why this title?” Alison Walker asked. “What about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?”

Social media expert Owen Williams meanwhile was happy with the title:

Sky viewers will have wait a few months to see the series as it’s not expected to hit television screens until late 2022.

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1 year ago

Seems reasonable to call it ‘This England’, considering that his covid remit didn’t (and doesn’t) extend to other countries in the UK.

Johnson’s first public broadcast after the arrival of covid-19 was premised on the mistaken assumption that he spoke for Wales,Scotland and NI, too. He was quickly disabused of this, and I don’t think he ever really got over it. It partly (but by no means wholly) explains his hatred of devolution.

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