What politicians involved in Brexit really think of Benedict Cumberbatch’s new drama

This evening, a groundbreaking new drama, Brexit: The Uncivil War, will air on Channel 4.

It’s the very first dramatisation of the historic campaign – the results of which are still being debated by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The short film will focus on the spin doctors behind the Leave and Remain campaigns and the battle for power in the lead-up to the vote on 23rd June 2016.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the campaign director for Leave, Dominic Cummings, it portrays the fierce crusade Cummings undertook to sway the country to exit the European Union.

But how accurate is Channel 4’s depiction of Brexit? And does it portray the campaigns as they really were?

In an piece written for The Guardian, journalist Stephen Moss spoke to Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign. And in his opinion, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings perfectly.

He said, “Cumberbatch has got Dom down to a T. He captures his passion, his focus, his dedication, his frustration with members of parliament.

“He’s [Cummings] good at enthusing, he’s got the killer instinct, he was willing to go into battle with the establishment. It takes a very special person to go into that sort of battle.”

However, it seems that the portrayals of some other MPs are less accurate, according to one of the founders of the Vote Leave campaign, Daniel Hannan. The hour-and-a-half short film will also feature appearances from actors portraying Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and the head of the Remain campaign, Craig Oliver, played by Rory Kinnear.

The Conservative MP said, “Matt Elliott was chief executive of the most successful campaign in British political history, but is portrayed here as a gormless chump.

“Michael Gove is one of the cleverest men in parliament, but is portrayed here as a vacillating fool. Boris Johnson is shown as being secretly disappointed by leave’s success, which is idiotic, as anyone who campaigned with him will know.”

So will Channel 4’s show shed new light on Brexit – and reform opinions?

Unlikely, says Peter Mandelson, Conservative MP and former British European Commissioner.

He said, “Not a hope. This is a battle for the future of the country. What James’s film exposes is that Leave had no real idea of Britain and its future beyond the duration of the referendum campaign.”

Peter continued, admitting that what viewers may well have even more questions, rather than answers, after watching Brexit: The Uncivil War.

He continued, “It didn’t represent a vision or a set of policies or a programme for the country.

I think what people will take out of the film is, ‘What on earth was it all for? What has the country gained? How is it better? How are our prospects transformed?’ They will feel a profound sense of emptiness.”

Former CEO of Vote Leave, Matthew Elliott, on the other hand, reckons the film’s director James Graham has “done a great job turning the key events of a referendum campaign that could easily have filled a mini-series into a fun 90-minute drama”.

Brexit: The Uncivil War will air tonight (Monday 7th January) at 9pm, on Channel 4.

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