Filming has begun on Channel 4‘s drama about the run up to the Brexit referendum, from award-winning writer James Graham and House Productions.
The two-hour drama, which carries the working title of Brexit, follows the Brexit campaign from the perspective of the largely unknown strategists in both the leave and remain camps as they plot to gain advantage over each other through media and social media activities, while having to deal with the more public role played by politicians jostling for the limelight and each side’s controversial financial backers.
At a time when explosive revelations about the mining of personal data and the corrosive effect of fake news and micro-targeted advertising through social media feeds are at the forefront of the news agenda, Brexit explores how modern data-driven campaigning techniques contributed to one of the most unexpected, highly-charged and controversial decisions in modern political history.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Avengers: Infinity War) stars as Dominic Cummings, the leading strategist and Campaign Director of Vote Leave.
Rory Kinnear (The Imitation Game, Skyfall, The Hollow Crown) stars as Craig Oliver, Prime Minister David Cameron’s Director of Communications, who was brought in to oversee the Remain campaign’s communications strategy.
John Heffernan (Collateral, The Crown) is Matthew Elliott, political lobbyist and Chief Executive of Vote Leave; Liz White (Ackley Bridge, Call The Midwife) plays Mary Wakefield – journalist and Dominic Cummings’ wife; and Kyle Soller (The Hollow Crown, Poldark) plays Zack Massingham, founder of data technology and digital marketing company AggregateIQ, which received several millions of pounds from Vote Leave to help target voters through social media advertising campaigns.
Lee Boardman (Outlander, Bancroft) is Aaron Banks, the controversial businessman, UKIP donor and financial backer of Leave.EU, and Nicholas Day (RSC’s Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies) plays labour supporting businessman John Mills, who was another prominent donor to the Leave campaign.
Politicians portrayed in the drama include Richard Goulding (The Windsors) as Boris Johnson; Oliver Maltman (The Crown) as Michael Gove and Paul Ryan (The Five) as Nigel Farage.
Brexit blends extensive research based on first-hand accounts from the key players involved, with humor and compelling drama to bring to life the political strategists, pollsters, provocateurs, politicians and divisive figures driving it in the backgrounds – and tells the story of how a modern political campaign is run, in a way never seen before.
Brexit is produced by House Productions for Channel 4. Written by RTS and Olivier Award-winning writer James Graham (Quiz, Ink, Coalition), and is directed by the award-winning Toby Haynes (Black Mirror, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Sherlock). The producer is Lynn Horsford (Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, The 7.39, Birdsong), and executive producers are Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell. It was commissioned by Channel 4 Head of Drama Beth Willis. Brexit is distributed globally by BBC Studios.