×

Prolific filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (“The Trip”) has temporarily ceased directing duties on Sky drama “This Sceptred Isle” due to poor health, Variety has confirmed.

Sky has said that Winterbottom will continue working remotely as he recovers. His duties will be taken over during this time by Julian Jarrold (“The Crown”). Jarrold’s credits also include “Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord,” co-produced by Winterbottom’s Revolution Films. The helmer will return to directing duties when he has recovered. The nature of his illness isn’t immediately clear.

“This Sceptred Isle” is a five-part series detailing Britain’s muddled response to the COVID-19 crisis, where Kenneth Branagh plays U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The U.K. leader, in late March 2020, was hospitalized with COVID-19 for over a week, with a number of days spent in intensive care. The series will cover the impact of the virus, and the response of the country’s medical community to overcome the pandemic.

It’s based on the first-hand testimony from members of the government, the Department of Health, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and hospitals and care homes across the country.

The show is produced by Fremantle, Richard Brown’s Passenger and Revolution Films.

“The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered forever,” Winterbottom had said when the show was announced. “A time when the country came together to battle an invisible enemy. A time when people were more aware than ever of the importance of community. Our series weaves together countless true stories — from Boris Johnson in Number 10 to front line workers around the country — chronicling the efforts of scientists, doctors, care home workers and policy makers to protect us from the virus.”