British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover and forced to stand trial in 1979.British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover and forced to stand trial in 1979.British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover and forced to stand trial in 1979.
Thorpe lives a freewheeling life as a member of Parliament in 1960s London. He eagerly pursues young men on the QT for one-nighters while maintaining his work in Parliament. He's part of a small circle of old Oxford students who share like sexual tastes and who can keep secrets.
When Thorpe meets young Norman (who works as a stable boy) he falls into a long-term, on-and-off-again relationship. The trouble is that Norman is a tad unstable and a big drama queen. Thorpe stupidly writes letters (it's the early 1960s), which Norman keeps. When Thorpe grows tired of Norman and tries to throw him over, the young man begins to make threats.
Norman grows more and more unstable and wanders around the country, falling in and out of relationships. Every now and then he sends a threatening letter (blackmail really) to Thorpe. As Thorpe becomes politically more successful, it becomes more and more important to shut Norman up.
Thorpe marries and has a son. He seems the very soul of a solid family man. Only a few know his secret past. Eventually Norman goes to the police and blurts out his accusations more than a decade after the fact. He starts babbling to anyone who will listen about how Thorpe used him. Desperate, Thorpe instigates a plan to kill Norman, but it gets botched and eventually the loose ends catch up with Thorpe when Norman files suit against him for attempted murder.
Grant is absolutely superb as the devious Thorpe. Over the 3-parts of the series he runs the gamut from randy man about town to serious husband and father, and finally to grim middle-aged man facing a serious threat. Ben Whishaw is also excellent as the loony Norman whose life is almost hysterically out of control.
Others in the cast that stand out are Alex Jennings as Peter, Patricia Hodge as Mrs. Thorpe, Adrian Scarborough as Carman, Michele Dotrice as Edna, Eve Myles as Gwen, and Monica Dolan as Thorpe's wife.
Beautifully done with a sharp sense of British wit and charm. Directed by Stephen Frears.
- Jul 4, 2018