Benedict Cumberbatch to star in new Channel 4 Brexit drama

The actor will play Leave campaigner Dominic Cummings in a new Channel 4 film about the bitter campaign

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Patrick Melrose premiere in LA

Benedict Cumberbatch is to star in a new Channel 4 film about how the Brexit vote was fought.

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With the working title Brexit, Cumberbatch will play real-life figure Dominic Cummings, the leading strategist and Campaign Director of Vote Leave, in the two-hour film.

Written by playwright James Graham, the “timely and compelling new political thriller” will look at both sides of the campaigning and will scrutinise the many tactics employed to swing the referendum result.

Channel 4 said, “From political strategists and pollsters to disrupters and provocateurs – the decisions taken and platforms set out during those eight weeks in the summer of 2016 have had reverberations throughout British politics and across the globe like no other event since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Going beyond the well-known public appearances of famous faces to peak instead behind the curtain, Brexit (working title) will explore the anatomy of a modern data-driven election campaign, and the divisive figures driving it from the shadows.

“Venturing from high street campaigning to top level political influence, and then stepping even further into the darker corners of the internet, Brexit sets out not to be an analysis of who was right and who was wrong, but rather is the story of how it happened, and why.”

James Graham, who is also the writer of hit politically-themed West End plays Ink and This House, said: “I’m so excited – not to mention a little nervous – to have this chance to try and get under the skin of what happened during that historic vote. I hope by going behind-the-scenes of the campaign, we’re able to interrogate the consequences of what happened during these eight weeks that have changed the country forever. To work with this incredible team and Channel 4 to bring this story to life on screen is a real honour.”

Beth Willis, Head of Drama at Channel 4, added: “James’ whip smart, funny and insightful writing is a breath of fresh air. We are so thrilled that he and the genius that is Benedict Cumberbatch feel Channel 4 is the right home for it – Brexit is exactly the kind of explosive and illuminating drama we want to have on the channel.”

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The film will begin shooting later this year. Meanwhile fans of Cumberbatch can watch the first episode of his new drama Patrick Melrose for free on RadioTimes.com. Find out more here