This England: release date, plot, trailer and everything we know

This England stars Kenneth Branagh and Ophelia Lovibond
This England sees Kenneth Branagh as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Image credit: Sky)

This England (formerly known as This Sceptered Isle) is a Sky Original factual drama that charts the events surrounding then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British government, and the country at large as they make their way through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, The Trip) directs all six episodes and has co-written the show with Kieron Quirke (Defending the Guilty).

This England has been winning great reviews, with The Times describing it as "A gruelling watch, but a mesmerising one".

The reviewer also spoke about how tragic some scenes are, saying: "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." 

Here’s everything you need to know about This England right now.

This England release date

This England is released on Sky Atlantic on Wednesday 28 September at 9pm. It's also available on streaming service NOW.

As and when we learn any info about a US release date, we'll be sure to update this guide.

What is the plot?

Here’s the plot summary from Sky: 

This England will tell the tale of some of the most devastating events to ever befall the United Kingdom, and of a Prime Minister leading in these unprecedented times. 

"The drama will trace the impact on Britain from this once in a generation pandemic, and the response of scientists, nurses, and doctors as they worked tirelessly and heroically to contain and overcome the virus. 

"It is based on the first-hand testimony of people from all walks of life; from Number 10 Downing Street, the Department of Health, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and from hospitals and care homes across the country."

 Who’s in This England?

Kenneth Branagh, star of stage and screen, plays Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A first-look image was released as This England entered production, and the resemblance is definitely uncanny.

Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson for This Sceptred Isle.

The first look image of Kenneth Branagh in This England. (Image credit: Sky)

Ophelia Lovibond (Elementary) plays Carrie Symonds, Boris Johnson's fiancée at the time, now his wife. Simon Paisley Day (Brexit: The Uncivil War) plays Boris' senior adviser Dominic Cummings and Andrew Buchan plays Matt Hancock, former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Andrew Buchan as Matt Hancock

Andrew Buchan stars as Matt Hancock. (Image credit: Sky)

Is there a trailer for This England?

On August 18, Sky unveiled a new teaser for the show. Beginning with his jubilant celebration over the Brexit vote, it gives us a few snapshots of Boris Johnson's time at the head of government, featuring press events, tender moments with his partner, and the PM's own health scare during the pandemic.

You can also check out the first teaser trailer, where Johnson gives a speech promising "a year of prosperity", below.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin was a Staff Writer with, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.