Many of us feared at the end of the last series of The Brexiteers that the writers had painted themselves into a corner, and the most recent episodes of the current series seem to bear that out.

While the overthrow of the Theresa May character satisfied many, it left the Brexit storyline unfulfilled. There was some dramatic irony in May being replaced as Prime Minister by the buffoonish Boris Johnson, but it would only have worked if that really was the last episode of the series.

The final shot of The Brexiteers series 2

The appeal of the May character was that power was an end in itself for her, and Brexit was the means of achieving it. Much of the entertainment in The Brexiteers came from seeing the Prime Minister twist and backtrack in the face of changing events.

The problem with her replacement is that the character is, in many ways a carbon copy. While the actor brings a buffoonish charm and method-school inarticulacy to the role, it can’t disguise the fact that there’s little going on, either inside the character’s head or during the Brexit negotiations.

Faced with a deadline to deliver a third series of The Brexiteers, the producers took the bold step of veering off into science fiction territory. Having primed the audience in pre-publicity by saying Johnson was based on the Mayor from Jaws, they introduced the pandemic storyline, which took the series in a whole new direction. While the storyline is dramatic, it’s far from the original intent of the series. Brexit negotiations are now reduced to occasional Monty Python style interludes with the negotiators hurling insults at each other across Zoom screens.

The problem for the producers is that, having taken the series in this sensational direction, it’s going to be very difficult to get back on track. The bold step of effectively side-lining the Prime Minister, keeping him the background while a succession of minor characters take the lead has helped to disguise the lack of story development. At the same time it leaves a vacuum where we should be seeing confrontation with the dashing new opposition leader Keir Starmer. But the problem facing the producers is that having altered the internal reality of the series to a science fiction melodrama, it will be very difficult to steer the storyline back to the original political drama.

Evidence of this is shown by the introduction of street protests and riots just as the pandemic storyline begins to get boring. It’s unfortunate that these episodes were screened at the same time that Talking Pictures TV was repeating the 1970’s Quatermass. The scenes of warning gangs and ‘Planet People’ blindly marching towards intergalactic doom seem strangely similar to the protest scenes in The Brexiteers with the marchers seemingly convinced their good intentions will protect them from the virus.

The big question is – what will the producers pull out of their hats? Are the protests engineered to provide a willing stock of guinea pigs to test whether ‘herd immunity’ has taken effect? Is it really a plot to eradicate the radical left to ensure a more compliant population remains for the economic recovery? Or will it just turn out that there is no conspiracy? That no-one is in control and no-one really knows what they are doing? At the rate the producers have been going, anything could be revealed.