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A Very English Scandal 

British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover and forced to stand trial in 1979.
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Golden Globe-winner Ben Whishaw praises Hugh Grant's performance in "A Very English Scandal," plus he reveals his motivation to portray his character, Norman Scott, as a hero.

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
Hugh Grant ...  Jeremy Thorpe 3 episodes, 2018
Ben Whishaw ...  Norman Scott 3 episodes, 2018
Alex Jennings ...  Peter Bessell 3 episodes, 2018
Patricia Hodge ...  Ursula Thorpe 3 episodes, 2018
Paul Hilton Paul Hilton ...  David Holmes 2 episodes, 2018
Naomi Battrick ...  Diana Stainton 2 episodes, 2018
Andrew French Andrew French ...  Sergeant at Arms 2 episodes, 2018
Morgan Watkins ...  Mike Steele 2 episodes, 2018
Monica Dolan ...  Marion Thorpe 2 episodes, 2018
Jason Watkins ...  Emlyn Hooson 2 episodes, 2018
Blake Harrison ...  Andrew 'Gino' Newton 2 episodes, 2018
Alice Orr-Ewing ...  Caroline Allpass 2 episodes, 2018
Flora Montgomery ...  Diane Kelly 2 episodes, 2018
Michele Dotrice ...  Edna Friendship 2 episodes, 2018
Nick Malinowski ...  Returning Officer 2 episodes, 2018
Rhys Parry Jones ...  John Le Mesurier 2 episodes, 2018
Dyfan Dwyfor Dyfan Dwyfor ...  George Deakin 2 episodes, 2018
Caleb Roberts Caleb Roberts ...  Daniel Badwah 2 episodes, 2018
Marianne Oldham Marianne Oldham ...  Stella Levy 2 episodes, 2018
Arabella Neale ...  Jeremy's Secretary 2 episodes, 2018


What is known as the Thorpe affair, centered on the at the time clandestine homosexual affair between Liberal MP and later Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe and stable boy Norman Scott, that affair when sodomy was still illegal in Britain, is the main feature of the story presented. The story culminates in 1979 with Jeremy put on trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder, the attempt on Norman's life all in an effort to rid him from Jeremy's life in his aspiration to become British Prime Minister at whatever cost, part of that cost being to remain in the closet despite having men on the side throughout his adult life. The imbalance between Jeremy and Norman both during their relationship and in their adversarial battle after the end of that relationship is also shown, older, ambitious Jeremy, from a proper English background, part of the establishment, and younger Norman, from the disadvantaged class, he who also suffered from clinical psychological issues, having nothing to lose... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

20 May 2018 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Very English Scandal See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


According to series screenwriter Russell T. Davies, when production company Blueprint Pictures sent him John Preston's book as a way to entice him into writing an adaptation for television, he knew within roughly three pages that he would agree to joining the project. See more »


Featured in A Very English Scandal: A Dog's Life (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

Remarkable turn by Hugh Grant elevates the uneven story.
21 May 2018 | by khunkrumarkSee all my reviews

Reviewed after parts one and two... If anything changes, I'll update this.)

The trademark frantic touch of Russel T. Davies (the man who put Doctor Who in the toilet for a generation of British TV viewers) is all over this 3 part drama. It moves along at a brisk pace and what would a TV drama be without flashbacks? Thankfully, there are few of them and they are kept fairly brief.

Hugh Grant is the center of attention here, proving (once again) that he can play it straight. To me, the physical mannerisms are captured with amazing accuracy - however, the character isn't how I remember Jeremy Thorpe to be.

Grant's Thorpe is a ruthless, cunning and sharp academic, plotting his political survival against the legal (and public) perception of being a gay man. But, I recall Jeremy Thorpe coming across publicly as an odious, rather creepy, social imbecile. That dank, greasy black hair was an abomination when he appeared in front of the camera! Here, thankfully, he has been cleaned up a bit for modern TV!

His brief and moderate rise in public favor had more to do with the lack of support for the other main parties rather than anything that he and the Liberal party brought to the table. Also, the Liberal party was riddled with shady characters at that time. David Steele, Cyril Smith, et al! Then again, the Tories had Edward Heath, so...

Anyway, British politicians absolutely love their secrets, lies, and deceptions, so it was no surprise to anyone when Thorpe was hauled in front of the Old Bailey to answer charges of 'incitement' and 'conspiracy to commit murder'. He was cleared but the stink never left him. His political career never recovered.

The story here seems to be a bit rushed to make room for Hugh Grant to march about being Jeremy Thorpe. For example, in an effort to increase his popularity with the electorate (by five percent) he decides to get married. In almost the next scene, he's posing with his wife and baby! There follows some quite uncomfortable scenes featuring this instant 'family' as the wife eventually cottons on to what's going on. (Meanwhile, the rest of the country had been quietly chattering about Thorpe's sexuality for decades!)

If you remember that this isn't a biographical and factual account, then it's enjoyable drama...

Grant and the players are a treat, the production is (of course) top notch... but the unraveling of the story is is a bit of a mess.

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