Partygate TV series to be ‘heavily based’ on Sue Gray report

Channel 4 reveals cast for Partygate dramatisation
Photo: Lucy North/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

23 Aug 2023

Channel 4 has announced its cast for a new series about Partygate, which will be “heavily based” on Sue Gray’s report into the scandal.

The dramatisation will focus on gatherings inside No.10 during the Covid lockdowns that took place under then-prime minister Boris Johnson. The series – Partygate: The True Story –  is currently in production and will be broadcast in October.

Johnson will be faceless in the series, represented by voice only, with impressionist Jon Culshaw playing him.

The main characters will be two fictional special advisers, played by Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of the Galaxy, W1A) and Georgie Henley (Chronicles of Narnia)

Other cast members include Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia, EastEnders), Hugh Skinner (W1A, Fleabag, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), Charlotte Ritchie (Fresh Meat, Ghosts) and Fresh Meat co-star Kimberly Nixon.

The show “will tell the real, untold story of Partygate, juxtaposing the revelry inside the nation’s seat of power with the hardship and sacrifice experienced across the rest of the country”, the broadcaster said.

It will feature “dramatic re-enactments of boozy parties in Downing Street interwoven with archive news footage and documentary interviews as the British public faced the pandemic”, the channel added.

Channel 4 said the docudrama is based on “meticulous research”. Its editorial chief Ian Katz said the miniseries will be “heavily based” on former senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the scandal, which he described as an “astonishing document”.

Katz said Gray’s Partygate report is a “profoundly shocking catalogue of extraordinary bacchanalian activity” and hinted that the infamous Karaoke machine may feature.

“At one point someone goes home to get a karaoke machine to bring in,” he told The Express. “It’s really about using that as the base material and then juxtaposing what’s laid out in the Sue Gray report with what was going on in the country at the same time.”

Gray was appointed to investigate allegations of Covid rule-breaking parties during the pandemic after cabinet secretary Simon Case recused himself from the inquiry due to reports he himself attended a party. Following Gray’s report, which found failures of leadership and judgement, the Met Police fined Johnson and current PM Rishi Sunak for their part in the saga. Johnson apologised, saying he took “full responsibility” for the events that took place. He was eventually forced to resign in July 2022 amid a string of ministerial resignations over Partygate and other scandals during his premiership. He later quit as an MP after receiving a report which found he had misled parliament over his knowledge of Partygate.



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