Boris Johnson and his populist approach to politics have long divided people and observers in Britain and beyond.
Some celebrities have regularly criticized his style and agenda, including Brexit and immigration policy.
So it was no surprise that stars chimed in with their reactions when the 58-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he was stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party, but was planning to remain Prime Minister until a successor is picked.
Hugh Grant, who famously portrayed a fictional British prime minister in Love Actually, asked well-known anti-Brexit activist Steve Bray via Twitter to send off Johnson with the famous theme tune of sketch comedy show The Benny Hill Show, which aired on the BBC and later ITV between 1955 until 1989. “Do you by any chance have the Benny Hill music to hand?” Grant put in his request.
Bray obliged and, within hours, shared a video of the theme song playing during his latest protest in London on Thursday. “Just for [Hugh Grant] as requested here today at the media circus…”, he tweeted.
— Steve Bray Activist Against Brexit +Corrupt Tories (@snb19692) July 7, 2022
“He’s going! Bless my soul,” Stephen Fry posted on Twitter about Johnson’s announcement. “But NOT YET…”
Fry added: “He just couldn’t do the decent thing and step aside at once. He doubtless pictures himself as an unleashed buccaneering, cavalier swashbuckler rather than the rogue elephant he is, trampling down what’s left of our democracy.”
Fry also posted a photo of Johnson with former U.S. President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France in 2019, commenting: “Oh and oy and oomph, such days.”
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Aisling Bea (Living With Yourself, This Way Up) tweeted about the big political news with a reference to a Netflix hit show. “Not trying to burst the ‘bye-Boris-bubble,’ but at the end of every season of Stranger Things, when we think the bad thing is gone & defeated, we learn he has been living inside the hearts & minds of scared children… or is secretly funded & supported by the Russian government,” she wrote.
Piers Morgan, who now works as a host for TalkTV, a channel operated by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, also criticized Johnson on Twitter. “Boris Johnson quits as he led – boasting, blathering & blaming everyone but himself,” he said. “What a terrible final speech by a man who turned out to be a truly terrible Prime Minister.”
Morgan added: “Boris Johnson cannot possibly be allowed to linger on like the lamest of lame duck Prime Ministers, especially when most of his own ministers have expressed no confidence in him. We have a pandemic, war & financial crisis to handle, we need real leadership not this farce.”
Grant argued that media titans would have a key role in picking Johnson’s successor. “Dear World, You may be wondering what happens next in terms of the British constitution,” he tweeted. “The answer is that 3 newspaper owners – all of whom are non domiciled in the UK for tax purposes – get together and choose our next Prime Minister or ‘Poodle.’ The Queen then anoints them.”