|A Very English Scandal|
|Based on|| A Very English Scandal |
by John Preston
|Written by||Russell T Davies|
|Directed by||Stephen Frears|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||3|
|Editor(s)||Pia Di Ciaula|
|Running time||56 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Blueprint Pictures|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Picture format||2:1 1080p|
|Original release||20 May –|
3 June 2018
A Very English Scandal is a fact-based three-part British television comedy-dramaminiseries based on John Preston's book of the same name. The series premiered on BBC One on 20 May 2018 and on Amazon Prime on 29 June 2018. It is a dramatisation of the 1976–1979 Jeremy Thorpe scandal and the more than 15 years of events leading up to it.
Comedy-drama or dramedy, is a genre in film and in television works in which plot elements are a combination of comedy and drama. It is a subgenre of contemporary tragicomedy. Comedy-drama is especially found in television programs and is considered a "hybrid genre".
A miniseries is a television program that tells a story in a predetermined, limited number of episodes. The term "serial" is used in the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations, though its meaning does not necessary equate to "miniseries" in its usage.
John Preston is an English journalist and novelist.
In 1965, Jeremy Thorpe, a Liberal Member of Parliament, must contend with disgruntled ex-lover Norman Josiffe, whom he met in 1961 and had a relationship with for several years. Thorpe had met Norman when the latter was a 21-year-old stable boy in Oxfordshire, and wrote many letters to him, which Norman kept. Norman, who could never quite hold down a job, particularly not after having lost his National Insurance card, was unstable and had a penchant for drama and self-expression, both of which proved increasingly hard to deal with. When Thorpe grew tired of Norman and insisted that he leave the housing he arranged and paid for in London, the young man began to make threats.
John Jeremy Thorpe was a British politician who served as the Member of Parliament for North Devon from 1959 to 1979, and as leader of the Liberal Party between 1967 and 1976. In May 1979 he was tried at the Old Bailey on charges of conspiracy and incitement to murder, arising from an earlier relationship with Norman Scott, a former model. Thorpe was acquitted on all charges, but the case, and the furore surrounding it, ended his political career.
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.
In the United Kingdom, Member of Parliament (MP) is the title given to individuals elected to serve in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Thorpe fears exposure and the end of his political career. His fellow Liberal MP, Peter Bessell, keeps Norman silent for the time being with small amounts of money. Norman also requests a new National Insurance card from Thorpe, but his request is denied since it would link Thorpe to Norman.
Peter Joseph Bessell was a British Liberal Party politician, and Member of Parliament for Bodmin in Cornwall from 1964 to 1970.
By 1968, Thorpe has been elected as the Leader of the Liberal Party, and is the youngest man to lead the party in a century. He marries naive young Caroline Allpass and they have a baby boy. Norman, on the other hand, has become more unstable. Now going by the name Norman Scott, although he gets on well with horses and dogs, he fails to keep a job or relationship, drinks too much and abuses drugs. He calls Caroline and tells her about his past romance with her husband. She is stunned by this revelation.
Caroline dies in 1970, after swerving into on-coming traffic. Thorpe mourns her passing. Bessell moves to the United States to escape his financial troubles. Norman continues trying to get a new National Insurance card and have his story be heard, but with no success. Thorpe considers having him killed, but the plans are postponed multiple times.
In 1973, Thorpe marries Marion Stein, Countess of Harewood, and continues to climb the political ladder. Unfortunately, Thorpe encounters Norman by chance, panics, and tells David Holmes (an old friend from Oxford) to arrange for Norman's murder. Andrew Newton is hired for £10,000. He tries and fails spectacularly, only succeeding in killing Norman's dog. Norman immediately reports the crime to the police and is convinced it was ordered by Thorpe.
Maria Donata Nanetta Paulina Gustava Erwina Wilhelmine Stein, CBE, known as Marion Stein, and subsequently by marriage as Marion Lascelles, Countess of Harewood, and later Marion Thorpe, was an Austrian-born British concert pianist.
The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
This results in the 1976–1979 Jeremy Thorpe scandal. Newton is put on trial and convicted of attempting to do harm to Norman. Soon afterwards, Norman requests from the police two letters from Thorpe he had given them in the 1960s. Thorpe decides to preemptively publish the two letters himself with his own version of events, and resigns as Leader of the Liberal Party in May 1976. He runs for re-election to Parliament, but loses his North Devon seat to Anthony Speller of the Conservatives.
The Thorpe affair of the 1970s was a British political and sex scandal that ended the career of Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal Party and Member of Parliament (MP) for North Devon. The scandal arose from allegations by Norman Josiffe that he and Thorpe had a homosexual relationship in the early 1960s, and that Thorpe had begun a badly-planned conspiracy to murder Josiffe, who was threatening to expose their affair.
North Devon is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Peter Heaton-Jones of the Conservative Party.
Antony Kirby Speller was a British Conservative politician. Speller was born in Exeter on 12 June 1929, the son of Captain John Speller, director of posts and telegraphs for India, who later returned to take over the city’s Bystock Hotel. He was educated at Exeter School, before graduating in Economics from the University of London and in Social Studies from Exeter University.
Thorpe, Holmes and two other accused co-conspirators are put on trial for conspiring to murder Norman. Thorpe hires George Carman, a combative lawyer, to defend him. In May 1979, the trial gets underway and the media reports its every detail. Norman testifies, explaining that what he mainly wants is his National Insurance card and to have his story acknowledged. Chief Justice Cantley is strongly biased, and sides heavily with Thorpe in his instructions to the jury, which finds Thorpe and his co-conspirators not guilty.
The end credits of the miniseries note that Thorpe never held another public office. He and Marion remained married until her death in March 2014. Thorpe died nine months later. Bessell remained in the United States until his death in 1985. Norman is still alive, owns 11 dogs and still does not have a National Insurance card.
The series was written by Russell T Davies and directed by Stephen Frears, with Hugh Grant starring as Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Scott. The BBC television drama was first announced on 4 May 2017.
The miniseries comprises three 56-minute episodes.
Filming took place in London, Manchester, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Hertfordshire, and South Wales.Although scenes were filmed outside the actual Houses of Parliament, the inner courts, interior hallways and staircase were represented by Manchester Town Hall, which is built in the same Gothic Revival style as the Palace of Westminster. The offices of Thorpe and other MPs were created at Bulstrode Park, a vacant country house in Buckinghamshire. The grounds of Bulstrode were also used for the night time assassination attempt scene set on Exmoor.
The town of Hertford was used as a stand-in for 1970's Barnstaple, while Saunton Sands in North Devon stood in for the California beach where Peter Bessell (Alex Jennings) lives in a seaside shack.Bridgend in South Wales stood in for Dublin, while Norman's period living in Wales was filmed in and around Monknash. The show was able to film in the actual lobby and exterior of the Old Bailey in London, where the show's climactic scenes take place. A Very English Scandal was the first production ever to be granted permission to film in Court One of the Old Bailey, but they had to decline because of tight time restrictions, and ended up filming the court scenes at a courthouse in Kingston upon Thames.
The series premiered on BBC One on 20 May 2018 and on Amazon Prime on 29 June 2018.The DVD was released on 2 July 2018.
The miniseries received very positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 97% based on 64 reviews, with an average rating of 9.05/10. Rotten Tomatoes's critical consensus reads, "Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw impress in A Very English Scandal, an equally absorbing and appalling look at British politics and society."Metacritic gives the miniseries a weighted average rating of 84 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The real Norman Scott spoke out about the show's characterization of him and its portrayal of his life. He told the Irish News that "Artistic license is fine but this isn't my story. And there's nothing funny about someone trying to kill you...I'm portrayed as this poor, mincing, little gay person ... I also come across as a weakling and I've never been a weakling."
|2019||76th Golden Globe Awards||Best Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Won|
|9th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Movie/Miniseries||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries||Won|
|25th Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Nominated|
|23rd Satellite Awards||Best Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Hugh Grant||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Ben Whishaw||Won|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Monica Dolan||Nominated|
|Best Mini-series||A Very English Scandal||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Craft Awards||Costume Design||Suzanne Cave||Won|
|Director: Fiction||Stephen Frears||Won|
|Editing: Fiction||Pia Di Ciaula||Won|
|Makeup & Hair Design||Daniel Phillips||Nominated|
|Original Music||Murray Gold||Nominated|
|Production Design||Helen Scott||Nominated|
|Sound: Fiction||Sound Team||Nominated|
|Writer: Drama||Russell T. Davies||Nominated|
Hugh John Mungo Grant is an English actor and film producer. Grant has received a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Honorary César for his work. As of 2018, his films have grossed a total of nearly US$3 billion worldwide from 29 theatrical releases. He first received attention after earning the Volpi Cup for his performance in the film Maurice (1987) but achieved international success after appearing in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). He used this breakthrough role as a frequent cinematic persona during the 1990s, delivering comic performances in films such Notting Hill (1999) and Mickey Blue Eyes (1999). For Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Alex Jennings is an English actor, who has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. A three-time Olivier Award winner, he won for Too Clever by Half (1988), Peer Gynt (1996), and My Fair Lady (2003). He is the only performer to have won Olivier awards in the drama, musical and comedy categories. He played Prince Charles in the 2006 film The Queen. His other film appearances include The Wings of the Dove (1997), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Babel (2006) and The Lady in the Van (2015). He also played Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, in the critically acclaimed Netflix series, The Crown.
Hugh Michael Horace Dancy is an English actor. He is best known for his roles as criminal profiler Will Graham in the NBC television series Hannibal (2013–2015), as Thomas Novachek in the stage play Venus in Fur (2011–2012), and as Adam Raki in the film Adam (2009). Dancy began his career with the title roles in the TV film David Copperfield (2000) and the miniseries Daniel Deronda (2002). He gained prominence as Prince Charmont in Ella Enchanted and Galahad in King Arthur. His portrayal of courtier Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex in the Channel 4 miniseries Elizabeth I (2005) earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. From 2016 to 2018, he played Cal Roberts in the Hulu original series The Path.
Benjamin John Whishaw is an English actor. In 2004, he played the title role in an Old Vic production of Hamlet, earning an Olivier Award nomination. On television, Whishaw has appeared in Nathan Barley, Criminal Justice, The Hour, London Spy, and A Very English Scandal.
Matthew William Goode is an English character actor. He made his screen debut in 2002 with ABC's TV film feature Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. His breakthrough role was in the romantic comedy, Chasing Liberty (2004), for which he received a nomination at Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout Movie Star - Male. He then appeared in a string of supporting roles in films like Woody Allen's Match Point (2005), the German-British romantic comedy Imagine Me and You (2006), and the period drama Copying Beethoven (2006). He's garnered praise for his performance as Charles Ryder in Julian Jarrold's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited (2008), and as Ozymandias in the American neo-noir superhero film Watchmen (2009), based on DC Comics' limited series of the same name. He then starred in romantic comedy Leap Year (2010) and Australian drama Burning Man (2011), the latter earning him a nomination for Best Actor at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.
Caroline Cruice Goodall is an English actress and screenwriter. She was nominated for AFI Awards for her roles in the 1989 miniseries Cassidy, and the 1995 film Hotel Sorrento. Her other film appearances include Hook (1991), Cliffhanger (1993), Schindler's List (1993), Disclosure (1994), White Squall (1996), The Princess Diaries (2001) and The Dressmaker (2015).
George Alfred Carman, QC was a leading English barrister during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1979, he successfully defended the former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe after he was charged with conspiracy to murder. Carman had been appointed as a Queen's Counsel (QC) eight years previously. He later appeared in a series of widely publicised criminal cases and libel cases.
Saunton Sands is a beach in the English village of Saunton on the North Devon coast near Braunton, popular as a longboard surfing location. Its southern end, Crow Point, lies at the mouth of the River Taw estuary. It is part of the Taw-Torridge estuary Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is at the centre of the UNESCO-designated North Devon's Biosphere Reserve, where Braunton Burrows lies at the heart.
Monica Margaret Dolan is a British actress. She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Rosemary West in Appropriate Adult (2011).
Luther is a British crime drama television series starring Idris Elba as the title character DCI John Luther, written by Neil Cross. The first series is composed of six episodes which ran in May and June 2010. A second series of four episodes aired on BBC One in June and July 2011. A third series was commissioned in 2012, composed of four episodes which aired in July 2013. A two-episode fourth series was broadcast in December 2015. A fifth series of four episodes premiered on 1 January 2019. BBC Studios handles the distribution of the series.
A Very English Scandal is a true crime non-fiction novel by John Preston. It was first published on 5 May 2016 by Viking Press and by Other Press in the United States. The novel details the 1970s Thorpe affair in Britain, in which former Liberal Party leader, Jeremy Thorpe, was tried and acquitted of conspiring to murder his alleged former lover, Norman Scott.
Paddington is a series of comedy films based on the character of the same name created by Michael Bond. The first film was released in 2014, featuring Ben Whishaw as the voice of the titular character, and an ensemble cast consisting mainly of British actors. The second film was released in 2017.
Norman Josiffe, better known in the media as Norman Scott, is an English former stable hand and model who was a key figure in the Thorpe affair, a major British political scandal of the 1970s.
Blueprint Pictures is an independent production company founded in 2005 by producers Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin.
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