Sir Kenneth's 'botched' performance as Boris in This England is panned

Is this Branagh’s biggest EVER flop? Sir Kenneth’s ‘botched’ performance as Boris Johnson in This England is panned by critics – marking a rare misstep in his glittering career

  • Kenneth Branagh’s performance as Boris in This England panned by critics 
  • The actor and filmmaker played the former Prime Minster in the six-part series
  • Some critics said he apparently gave a ‘botched’ performance as Boris Johnson

He has won an Academy Award, four BAFTAs, two Emmy Awards, and a Golden Globe Award.

However Kenneth Branagh’s performance as Boris Johnson in This England might be seen as a career flop as it is panned by critics. 

The actor and filmmaker, 61, played the UK’s former Prime Minster in the six-part docudrama series on Sky Atlantic which recounts Johnson’s time in the role.   

Kenneth, who is best known for his film adaptations of Shakespearean plays, apparently gave a ‘botched’ performance as Boris. 

The Irish-born actor, director, and writer most likely wouldn’t be used to bad reviews as his glittering career – which has spanned decades on stage and screen – has won him much praise and many accolades. 

However, writing for the Telegraph, Anita Singh gave the drama just two-stars, saying Branagh’s ‘bad wig and prosthetics overshadow what could have been a serious drama about the pandemic and lockdown’.

Kenneth Branagh’s performance as Boris Johnson in This England might be seen as a career flop as it is panned by critics

The disappointing reviews for the series This England comes after Kenneth personally broke a new record at the Oscars for Belfast this year. Pictured, posing in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles

 

Kenneth, who is best known for his film adaptations of Shakespearean plays, apparently gave a ‘botched’ performance as Boris. Pictured, some of the reviews

She continued: ‘This is a story of care home deaths, inadequate PPE, relatives forced to say deathbed goodbyes to their loved ones over FaceTime. 

‘Botched execution’ and ‘dated’… critics slam This England in scathing reviews

  • Telegraph reporter Anita Singh gave the drama just two-stars, saying Branagh’s ‘bad wig and prosthetics overshadow what could have been a serious drama about the pandemic and lockdown’.
  • Nick Hilton from the Independent gave the series two stars calling it a ‘botched execution’ saying ‘endures’ is the word for it.
  • A far cry from his glory days his new series was branded ‘dated’ by the Financial Times. Saying the programme ‘pulls off the unusual feat of feeling simultaneously premature and dated’, while turning the ‘floundering former prime minister into a tragic theatrical hero’ said Dan Einav who gave the series three stars.
  • Independent.ie’s Pat Stacey said: ‘But This England is here, for better or for worse. I have to say, based on the first episode (all six are available on demand), I’m inclined to lean toward worse. ‘Like the latex enfolding Branagh’s face, which has the peculiar effect of making him look not quite enough like either Johnson or himself, the performance is surface-deep.’

‘The problem is that other dramas have told this story far better – think of Jack Thorne’s terrific Help, starring Jodie Comer as a carer.’

Nick Hilton from the Independent gave the series two stars calling it a ‘botched execution.’

He said: ‘Anyone who endures the full run of six hour-long episodes deserves the nation clapping them in their driveways. 

‘And “endures” is the word for it. The rendering of the miserable past two years as a form of entertainment was an inexplicable decision, and the botched execution is simply a by-product of that central commissioning error.’ 

A far cry from Branagh’s glory days his new series was also branded ‘dated’ by the Financial Times – despite the reviewer giving it three out of five stars.

The programme ‘pulls off the unusual feat of feeling simultaneously premature and dated’, while turning the ‘floundering former prime minister into a tragic theatrical hero’ said Dan Einav.

‘For many viewers, watching a dramatisation of the pandemic while the realities of illness, loss and lockdown remain raw will seem like a pointless or masochistic endeavour.

‘Those who are drawn by the Sky mini-series’ focus on the goings-on at Number 10 will find a truncated story.’

The disappointing reviews for the series comes after Kenneth personally broke a new record at the Oscars this year.

He was the first person to have received seven nominations in seven different categories throughout his career. 

Branagh’s Belfast picked up seven Oscar nominations across seven categories Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Best Sound, Best Original Screenplay (Kenneth Branagh), Best Supporting Actor (Ciaran Hinds), Best Song (‘Down To Joy’ by Van Morrison, Best Director (Kenneth Branagh), and the Oscars’ most coveted award, Best Picture. 

He won his first Oscar and took home the award for Best Original Screenplay. 

The actor and filmmaker, 61, played the UK’s former Prime Minster in the six-part docudrama series on Sky Atlantic which recounts Johnson’s time in the role


Kenneth Branagh and Ophelia Lovibond (right) play Boris and Carrie Johnson (left) in the series 

The Daily Mail said Ophelia Lovibond was ‘superb’ as Carrie Johnson but warned some episodes showed ‘miserable situations in hospitals’ during the peak of the pandemic 

The actor also achieved success in 1989, when he brought Henry V to the screen. The movie received critical acclaim, and Branagh was nominated for an Academy Award for best director and another for best actor. 

Yet his new TV series has also been criticised by viewers online – with people rushing to Twitter to voice their own opinions on the programme and Branagh’s performance. 

One person wrote: ‘Struggling to watch #ThisEngland as they have made Boris look like some Spitting Image puppet and Kenneth Branagh I thought was a good actor but apparently not ….’ 

Another said: ‘Watching This England… It’s a poor impersonation despite prosthetics and fat suit.’  

Despite the negative response from critics, some fans have come to Kenneth Branagh’s defence online.

The TV series has also been criticised by viewers online – with people rushing to Twitter to voice their own opinions on the programme and Branagh’s performance

Despite the negative response from critics, some fans have come to Kenneth Branagh’s defence online

One person said: ‘Was about to start watching #Blonde but got sucked into #ThisEngland … omg Kenneth Branagh is brilliant, he makes having Boris Johnson on your TV …tolerable.’

Another said: ‘Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson is brilliant to watch.’ While another wrote: ‘Kenneth Branagh as Boris in This England does a good job. Got his scruffy look off to a tee!’ 

Meanwhile, the BBC wrote: ‘The performances are terrific.

‘Admittedly, Branagh, who apparently spent two hours in make-up every day, looks less like Boris Johnson than he does a man who has spent two hours in make-up, but it doesn’t matter because he has the politician’s speech patterns and physicality and is utterly convincing. 

‘Lovibond as Symonds is tremendous. ‘

Elsewhere, the Times’ Carol Midgley wrote: ‘Let’s be clear: it is brilliantly realistic. Too brilliantly realistic. At times, particularly in later episodes, I found its heartbreaking authenticity unbearable, and I doubt I’ll be alone in that.

‘One death scene was so excruciating I had to turn it off. It feels too soon to be reimmersed in that horror.

‘Michael Winterbottom does a masterful job entwining the parallel narratives of Covid approaching like a bullet train and Johnson distracted by his domestic dramas.’  

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