Back in 2018, Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw starred to award-winning effect in miniseries A Very English Scandal. The Beeb and Amazon are looking to replicate that with A Very British Scandal, starring Paul Bettany and Claire Foy.
Written by Sarah Phelps, A Very British Scandal focuses on the divorce of the Duke (Bettany) and Duchess of Argyll (Foy), one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th Century. Famed for her charisma, beauty and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as a divorcee featuring accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery, and an explicit polaroid picture all played out in the white-hot glare of the 1960s media.
The miniseries looks to explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes toward women, and asking whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time. As her contemporaries, the press, and the judiciary sought to vilify her, Margaret kept her head held high with bravery and resilience, refusing to go quietly as she was betrayed by her friends and publicly shamed by a society that revelled in her fall from grace.
“Writing the story of Margaret’s life and the events leading up to and including her divorce from the Duke has been a passion project of mine since 1993 when I first heard her name and started learning about her,” says Sarah Phelps. “I felt very strongly that she’d been punished for being a woman, for being visible, for refusing to back down, be a good girl and go quietly. This drama is my tribute to her.”
A Very British Scandal will comprise three episodes, premiering on BBC One in the UK and on Amazon Prime Video elsewhere, with the cameras gearing up later this year.