It’s the story that has been dominating British politics for more than two years, driving political journalists into a frenzy but pretty much boring everyone else to death.
Now, a highly anticipated new TV film will inject some drama into the whole Brexit saga, with a host of award-winning actors taking on the story of the men and women behind the Leave campaign to exit the European Union.
Brexit - The Uncivil War, screening on Channel 4 at 9pm, is directed by James Graham, a writer known political dramatisations including ‘Coalition’ in 2015, about the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government, and a 2016 play about the fringe Monster Raving Loony party.
Graham said he wanted to focus on the key players behind the scenes, so the plot centres on Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings, played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, who is credited with coming up with the “take back control” slogan. Former prime minister David Cameron is largely off-screen.
But of course, what we really want to know is how closely this star-studded resembles the real people involved, many of whom are still involved in politics – some even in Theresa May’s cabinet. So we’ve ranked them for you...
1. Sir Craig Oliver, played by Rory Kinnear
Craig Oliver (left) was David Cameron’s director of communications during the referendum.
After the vote to leave the EU stunned the nation, Cameron promptly resigned, sparking weeks of turmoil with the Conservative Party.
As Cameron was leaving office, Oliver was knighted during the controversial resignation honours, announced in the last few days of his premiership.
Played by Rory Kinnear, the film producers have managed to match Kinnear remarkably well.
2. Matthew Elliott, played by John Heffernan
James Graham has said he wanted the film to focus on the “real decision-makers” and “people you’ve never really heard of”, and Matthew Elliott (left), played by John Heffernan, is definitely one of those.
Elliott was one of the founders of the Tax Payers Alliance in 2004, a highly influential right-wing lobby group which campaigns for lower taxes.
Elliott was the chief executive of Vote Leave during the referendum and played a key part in the outcome of the vote.
3. Boris Johnson, played by Richard Goulding
Boris Johnson’s (left) shabby hairstyle has helped the bumbling politician become extremely well know, and anyone who played him needed to get that right.
We think Richard Goulding (right) comes pretty close to perfecting the former foreign secretary’s unkempt style.
Johnson was one of the key faces of Brexit, and his decision to back Brexit was seen as a key turning point at the start of the campaign.
Together with Michael Gove, Johnson’s tour on the infamous £350m-per-week-to-the-NHS bus was the central part of the Vote Leave campaign.
And his often controversial remarks defined many of the moments of the referendum. When former US president Barack Obama said the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for future trade deals if we left the EU, and implored Britain to vote remain, Johnson replied to saying it was because of the president’s “part Kenyan ancestry” and “historic dislike of the British Empire”. The comments were widely criticised as racist.
He also got in trouble when he said remaining in the EU would open the door to millions of migrants when Turkey imminently joined the bloc. It still hasn’t, by the way.
4. Dominic Cummings, played by Benedict Cumberbatch
Dominic Cummings (left) is central to the plot of the film, and to Brexit – he was the director of Vote Leave during the referendum.
Cummings has been credited with coming up with the slogan “taking back control”, and being one of the masterminds behind Brexit.
Benedict Cumberbatch (right) is the biggest name in the film, and although not the perfect match, he did manage to get the hairline right.
5. Douglas Carswell, played by Simon Paisley Day
People remember Douglas Carswell (left), not for his hair but for his distinctive smile, and Simon Paisley Day almost gets it right.
Carswell was a Conservative MP until he defected to UKIP in 2014 as the party grew in popularity. He was a prominent supporter of Brexit but preferred to support the Vote Leave campaign instead of the UKIP-backed Leave.EU.
This was one of many differences he had with UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and even though he was the party’s only MP, he decided to leave in March 2017. He did not stand for re-election in the 2017 election.
6. Bernard Jenkin, played by Tim McMullan
Sir Bernard Jenkin (left), played by Tim McMullan, has been a eurosceptic all of his parliamentary career. He was one of the so-called Maastricht Rebels during John Major’s government, and sat on the board of Vote Leave.
During the referendum, Jenkin tried to remove Cummings from his position in Vote Leave and wanted to merge the group with the Leave.EU campaign.
7. Nigel Farage, played by Paul Ryan
No one personifies Brexit better than Farage: the former UKIP leader was responsible for the rise of eurosceptic party and helped shift Brexit from a fringe topic to not only mainstream debate, but a reality.
Farage was not part of the official Vote Leave campaign, and instead spoke on behalf of the much more anti-immigrant Leave.EU campaign – although he endorsed both.
8. Arron Banks, played by Lee Broadman
Insurance mogul Arron Banks was one of the key funders behind Leave.EU, and has been at the centre of investigations over possible illegalities within the campaign.
He is the author of the book ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’, and has talked about often he would get drunk with prominent people, from Farage to Russian ambassadors, and it’s the more boozy side of Banks that Lee Boardman is portraying in the film.
Banks first rose to prominence when he decided to stop donating to the Conservatives and instead donate to UKIP, which was ridiculed by David Cameron. In response to the criticism, Banks increased his donation from £100,000 to £1m.
9. Michael Gove, played by Oliver Maltman
It’s not that Oliver Maltman (right) doesn’t look like Michael Gove – it’s that no one quite looks like Michael Gove.
Gove was another key face of the Vote Leave campaign, after being a long-time vocal Eurosceptic.
Following the successful exit campaign and the resignation of then-prime minister David Cameron, he initially support Johnson’s bid to be the next PM but famously betrayed his campaign colleague and declared himself in the competition.
Justifying his actions, he said at the time he “wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future. But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.”
That’s our ranking for which actor looks the most like their real life counterparts in ‘The Uncivil War’ – but what do *you* think?