One of the most extraordinary legal cases of the 20th century is the subject of new BBC One drama A Very British Scandal. It’s the follow-up to Hugh Grant’s A Very English Scandal and will detail the infamous divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, played by Paul Bettany and Claire Foy, respectively. Written by Sarah Phelps, the three-part drama will attempt to turn the scandal “inside out.” Here’s everything you need to know about A Very British Scandal.
BBC has confirmed that filming will take place across the United Kingdom later this year. The three-part series will air on BBC One in the UK, and on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand but the airing date has not been released.
Back to her period drama best, The Crown actor Claire Foy will star as the charismatic Margaret, Duchess of Argyll. The duchesses’ high-profile divorce dominated the front pages for many months amid accusations of “forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery, and an explicit polaroid picture.”
On the new role, Foy said: “I’m so excited to work with Anne, Sarah and Paul on this extraordinary project, and to explore through this story, how often shame, judgement, and controversy surrounds a woman’s sexuality.”
According to BBC’s synopsis, “A Very British Scandal turns this scandal inside out in order to explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes towards women, and asking whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time.”
The synopsis adds: “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.”
Writer Sarah Phelps says she’s excited to get to work on this “extraordinary project.”
“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,” said 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.”