TV preview: A Very English Scandal

ILLEGAL AFFAIR: A Very English Scandal, with Jeremy Thorpe played by Hugh Grant and Norman Scott by Ben Whishaw. PIC: Ray Burmiston and Sophie Mutavelian
ILLEGAL AFFAIR: A Very English Scandal, with Jeremy Thorpe played by Hugh Grant and Norman Scott by Ben Whishaw. PIC: Ray Burmiston and Sophie Mutavelian
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Hugh Grant makes a return to our television screens this week in the controversial A Very English Scandal.

It is 1960s England, homosexuality is illegal and the politician Jeremy Thorpe begins a whirlwind affair with a young stable hand, Norman Scott. But when the relationship turns sour and Jeremy’s career goes from strength to strength, Norman becomes a secret that Jeremy is desperate to hide.

In 1967, Jeremy becomes the leader of the Liberal Party and the youngest leader of any British political party in 100 years, but as long as his ex-lover Norman is around, his brilliant career is at risk.

Jeremy turns to his friends for decisive action. He can see only one way to silence him for good. Thorpe was charged and put on trial for Norman’s murder but was acquitted, although it meant the end of his political career.

Thorpe was married to Marion, the Countess of Harewood who had previously been married to George Lascelles, the 7th Earl of Harewood. Marion stood by Thorpe throughout the scandal.

It was written by the BAFTA-winning writer Russell T Davies. “I honestly think he is one of our finest actors and I can’t wait for people to see this,” says Davies of Grant.

“I think he gives an immeasurable performance. I think it’s a magnificent piece of work. I am absolutely delighted with it. I know Hugh Grant put an immense amount of work into it. An immensely hard worker.”

A Very English Scandal starts on BBC One on Sunday 20 May at 9pm and runs over three episodes.

A Very English Scandal, BBC1, Sunday 9pm

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