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A Very English Scandal 

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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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2021   2018  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »





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 ...  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 ...  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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Did You Know?


During an interview on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, interviewer Scott Simon remarked to Hugh Grant that before making this movie, Grant and Ben Whishaw had also just worked together on Paddington 2 (2017), and Grant replied, "Well, I mean, it is weird that I have in effect spent the last three years trying to either kill or have sex with Ben Whishaw in one way or another." See more »


Hugh Grant's Jeremy Thorpe has his hair parted on the wrong side - the right side. The real Jeremy Thorpe always had his hair parted on the left side. (See Google Images.) See more »


Featured in Hugh Grant: A Life on Screen (2019) See more »

User Reviews

Really good, but not remarkable
8 June 2018 | by Evil_HerbivoreSee all my reviews

A Very English Scandal tells the story of an attempted murder of Norman Josiffe (later known as Norman Scott) by his ex-lover, Jeremy Thorpe MP. The story which only now, after Thorpe's death, can be told without the threat of him suing defamation of character.

The strongest suit of the mini-series is the acting, particularly on the part of its two stars, Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. Both give magnificent performances. Hugh Grant's Jeremy Thorpe is charming, highly intelligent, ruthless and manipulative. It is quite a contrast to the type of roles Grant usually gets cast in and it is really satisfying seeing him depart from his typecast. Ben Whishaw's Norman Josiffe is unstable, emotional and broken by the many hardships he has experienced.

Minor characters as every bit as compelling as Jeremy and Norman. Thorpe's friend and fellow Member of Parliament, always willing to help his friend in times of need. An intelligent and very scrupulous young woman tasked with retrieving a lost suitcase. An eccentric lord, who lets badgers into his house and is deeply concerned with the anti-gay legislation. A Liberal MP willing to do anything to destroy Thorpe and take his place as the leader of the party. A man tasked with killing Norman, who is anything but professional. A pub owner, who gives Norman not only a job, but also friendship and support. It feels like each of these characters would make an interesting protagonist if a movie had been made about them instead of Thorpe and Josiffe.

It is quite a pity that the writing as a whole is not as good as these minor characters. Although the plot is quite compelling and it is hard to make any accusations concerning the events as the story really happened, there are moments where the construction of the mini-series seems to be missing something. This is most visible when the plot focuses on Thorpe and leaves Norman's side out only to jump forward in time and find him in a completely different place and situation that we've last seen him. Explaining such changes by the means of short dialogue is truly unsatisfying.

Another thing that needs to be mentioned is the music. Even though I usually don't pay much attention to the music - often I don't really notice it at all - in the mini-series it is used so cleverly that in a number of scenes I had to applaud the director's choices in the matter. It really feels like the music is an integral part of the production, sometimes underlining characters' emotions and sometimes acting almost as a kind of comic relief in this pretty sad story.

In general, the mini-series is a solid piece of television telling an interesting story. The acting and the production are high quality, as can be expected from the BBC. The writing could have been better, as the plot often takes big leaps which are then only briefly mentioned in the dialogie. Sadly, this takes away some of the characters' believability and makes the pacing quite uneven.

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Release Date:

29 June 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Very English Scandal See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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