Partygate on Channel 4: who is Kate Josephs, who plays her in drama series, was she fired over lockdown party?

A new Channel 4 drama series based on the Partgate scandal stars Kimberley Nixon as the Sheffield Council CEO
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Partygate, a special Channel 4 drama based on real events, follows two fictional special advisors at the heart of the lockdown-busting scandal that contributed to the downfall of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The series is set in the government offices during the Covid pandemic, at a time when millions of Brits were told to stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.

In months and years following the ending of lockdown restrictions we’ve come to learn that many in government, including the Prime Minister himself, did not always follow the rules that were being set for everybody else, with stories of birthday parties, leaving dos, suitcases full of booze, and social distance-breaking affairs, stuck in the craw of those who did stay home.

Partygate also focuses on Kate Josephs, a civil servant who was at the heart of the scandal as she was both in charge of writing the lockdown rules, and found to have broken them herself. 

The series is based on research of events in and around Downing Street, and features re-enactments along with archive footage, and interviews.

Partygate airs on Channel 4 tonightPartygate airs on Channel 4 tonight
Partygate airs on Channel 4 tonight

Who is Kate Josephs?

Kate Josephs is a civil servant who worked as Director General at the Cabinet Office Covid Taskforce during the pandemic - in 2020 she got a new job as the CEO of Sheffield City Council.

She hosted a leaving party with prosecco and beer in December 2020, during a time of restrictions on social gatherings, when London was in tier 3 and just days before the capital was placed under the new tier 4 restrictions.

Revelations of the potentially rule-breaking party came to light in January 2022, and Josephs was placed on paid leave from her job as CEO of the council, for which she earns £190,000 per year.

Following a lengthy investigation, which cost Sheffield Council £150,000, Josephs was found to have broken lockdown rules by hosting the party.

Sheffield City Council CEO Kate JosephsSheffield City Council CEO Kate Josephs
Sheffield City Council CEO Kate Josephs

On 14 January she apologised for hosting the party, saying: “I am truly sorry that I did this and for the anger that people will feel as a result. Sheffield has suffered greatly during this pandemic, and I apologise unreservedly.” She denied being involved in any parties at 10 Downing Street.

Despite being found to have breached lockdown rules, Josephs returned to work at Sheffield Council in June 2022 and remains the CEO today.

Who plays Kate Josephs in Partygate?

Kimberley Nixon plays the CEO of Sheffield City Council in the Channel 4 drama series. Nixon is best known for playing Josie Jones, a Welsh university student in flatshare sitcom Fresh Meat. 

She has also appeared in BBC crime drama New Blood, historical drama Highlander, and TV movies, The Left Behind, Life and Death in the Warehouse, and Consent.

The series also stars Jon Culshaw as Boris Johnson, Rebecca Humphries as Carrie Symonds, and Anthony Calf as Sir Mark Sedwill. Georgie Henley and Ophelia Lovibond star as fictional special advisors Grace Greenwood and Annabel D’acre.  

When is Partygate on TV?

Partygate is a one-off 85 minute special - it will air on Channel 4 at 9.30pm tonight (3 October), and will be available to watch on Channel 4 online after it has first aired.

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