HBO to Air Benedict Cumberbatch 'Brexit' Drama This January

Benedict Cumberbatch in "Brexit" (Photo: Channel 4)

Given the tumult that is still going on in the process, one has to wonder whether it’s really the best time to drop a one-off TV move about the United Kingdom’s Brexit deal, but we’re getting one whether we like it or not.

On the plus side, at least it stars Benedict Cumberbatch, so that’s something. Unfortunately, he’s playing a largely terrible person, who has ridiculously awful hair and is at least partly responsible for the garbage fire situation the U.K. is struggling through today. Hooray!

Yes, HBO has picked up the American distribution rights to Brexit, Channel 4’s oft-maligned dramatization of the country’s historic 2016 vote to depart the European Union, from the perspective of both the Leave and Remain camps.

It will debut on the premium cable network on January 19, just a few short weeks after its British premiere on Channel 4.

Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the lead strategist and campaign director behind the Vote Leave campaign. Brexit also features Rory Kinnear as Craig Oliver, director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron, who also saw communications strategy for the Remain campaign.

The feature-length drama reportedly “goes behind the scenes, revealing the personalities, strategies and feuds of the Leave and Remain campaigns. The tactics employed by Vote Leave during the data-driven campaign swayed a historically silent voting bloc that would ultimately decide the outcome of the referendum, as well as affecting future elections around the world.”

Leave ultimately squeaked out a victory by just 51.9 percent, and in the two years since the vote the tactics used by the campaign have come under increased public scrutiny and criticism.

HBO dropped an extended trailer for the upcoming drama, which gives us a lot more footage than the earlier U.K. version did. This is probably because the network assumes most Americans aren’t exactly familiar with the players involved in the Brexit situation, and therefore needed some extra context.

Watch for yourselves:


What do you think of the prospect of a Brexit drama? Do you think American viewers will tune in? Let’s discuss! 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

More to Love from Telly Visions