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Episode #1.1 

In 1965 Jeremy Thorpe, a successful Liberal MP and in line for the party's leadership, tells his friend Peter Bessell how, four years earlier, he met the handsome stable boy Norman Josiffe.... See full summary »

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

John Preston (based on book 'A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment' by), Russell T. Davies
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Grant ... Jeremy Thorpe
Alex Jennings ... Peter Bessell
Ben Whishaw ... Norman Scott
Chris Ashby Chris Ashby ... Messenger
Andrew French Andrew French ... Sergeant at Arms
Nicholas Blane ... Norman Van De Vater
Patricia Hodge ... Ursula Thorpe
Naomi Battrick ... Diana Stainton
Anthony O'Donnell ... Leo Abse
John Bett John Bett ... Lord Kilmuir
David Bamber ... Lord Arran
Susan Wooldridge ... Countess of Arran
Nick Malinowski ... Returning Officer
Morgan Watkins ... Mike Steele
Jason Watkins ... Emlyn Hooson
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Storyline

In 1965 Jeremy Thorpe, a successful Liberal MP and in line for the party's leadership, tells his friend Peter Bessell how, four years earlier, he met the handsome stable boy Norman Josiffe. Jeremy takes the homeless youngster in to repay an act of kindness and a sexual relationship follows. However Norman feels used, threatening to expose Jeremy, and Peter is sent to pacify him. Whilst progressives attempt to legalize homosexuality in parliament Jeremy plans a smoke-screen by marrying Caroline but Norman, his surname changed to Scott and a leading fashion model, still poses a threat. As a result Jeremy considers drastic action to silence him. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 2018 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A bill to decriminalize male homosexuality in the UK was introduced in the British House of Commons in 1966 but failed to get support. A second bill was introduced and passed as an Act of Parliament in 1967, legalizing private homosexual acts between consenting parties over the age of 21 in England and Wales. See more »

Goofs

An opening establishing shot shows the Houses of Parliament with the superimposed date "1965". Parliament's Yorkshire stone has only been seen in its original yellow/golden colour since the extensive restoration which took place from 1981 to 1994. In the 1960s and '70s, the Houses of Parliament were almost black. See more »

Quotes

[Jeremy Thorpe and Peter Bessell are speaking in 1965 before "gay" had become almost exclusively a synonym for homosexual, and when homosexuality was still a crime]
Peter Bessell: Between the two of us, when I was young, I was so desperate, I'd go looking on the spear side.
Jeremy Thorpe: [long pause, then Jeremy Thorpe grins] Are you telling me... that you... were usable?
Peter Bessell: I'm a little bit so, yes. If that's not too shocking.
Jeremy Thorpe: Peter Pedro Bessell von Bessellbach! Well, out of anyone in this room, I'm probably the least shocked...
[...]
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Soundtracks

Dinner with Amadeus
(uncredited)
Written by Leo Nissim
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User Reviews

 
Episode 1
21 May 2018 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Hugh Grant returns to British television after several decades working primarily on rom-com films. Now he is older, greyer and the looks are fading he plays the real life politician Jeremy Thorpe.

In 1979 the Jeremy Thorpe attempted murder trial gripped the nation. I remember the events, but I was a kid then so I did not quite grasp the salaciousness of the scandal.

Thorpe was the young, rising politician in the Liberal Party which was at the time just a small rump in the House of Commons. The unmarried Thorpe had a liaison with a farm hand which went back to 1961.

Ben Whishaw plays Norman Scott, the young farm hand. He is neurotic, dim and briefly went on to become a male model. Scott attempts to blackmail Thorpe. Peter Bessell (Alex Jennings) is the politician used by Thorpe to stave off Scott's threats to bring ruin on Thorpe who is now looking to find a bride so he could hopefully bolster the Liberal's fortunes in the opinion polls.

The first episode had a mainly lighthearted tone and was rather zippy. Russell T Davies knows from his Doctor Who days to keep things economical and go for the absurd. It is not long before Thorpe enters Scott's bedroom with a tub of Vaseline and asks him to hop on to all fours. Soon Scott becomes trouble especially as he wants a copy of his National Insurance card but Thorpe did himself no favours with the risque letters he wrote.

A promising first episode but for some of the early scenes, Grant looked rather old for someone who was at one point the youngest party leader since Pitt the Younger!


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