A Very English Scandal (TV) Review


A Very English Scandal is a three-part TV series that looks into the scandal surrounding former British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe as he was accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover Norman Scott. Standing trial in 1979.

Before watching this short series I had never heard of Jeremy Thorpe. I guess that is no real surprise with the dates involved in this case and events. I therefore could watch it all blind without any prior knowledge on the case or scandal. From the way it was put across in the series it was one of the first major scandals to his the press and the start of what was to come for famous people? I have no idea if that is actually true but with the dates it wouldn’t really surprise me.

Over the three episodes we see what appeared to be a gay relationship with love develop into a dangerous obsession. On the part of Norman that is, when it really mattered Jeremy decided to try to deny it all. The way we see everything though is Norman being kept locked away for Jeremy so he is there whenever he wants him. I guess that made for an interesting start they both were pretty obsessed with one another. A forbidden love and sex, which was illegal when they first got together.

As it progresses and Peter Bessell gets involved, something he would live to regret when his name is dragged into it all. But let’s face it politicians are renowned for lying all of the time. So can we ever believe Thorpe threw his two marriages, are these women really going to put up with what he sneaks away to do? I guess they did giving the way things happened.

The reason this is such a powerful series is due to the truly outstanding performances from Hugh Grant in the more leading role and Ben Whishaw in the supporting role. They were honestly inspired choices to take on the roles and the fact they have picked up so many awards so far this awards season really does confirm just how impressive they are! Something great seems to be happening with Hugh Grant’s career in recent years and he is getting better roles than he has ever had in his career, eventually away from that rom-com typecast he ended up with from the 90s. He is now being able to show just what a talented actor he is, not being afraid to take on the meatier roles now. Ben Whishaw is always impressive as well, he takes on so many types of roles and he does a lot of theatre I have added him to my list of must see on stage!

Don’t get me wrong though at times this does have a very funny edge and done in a very tongue in cheek manner. Maybe that is just poke fun a little bit at how politics are still ran by corrupt people? It really is worth watching and this three parts it doesn’t get dragged out for too long. Even just to see Hugh Grant in this amazing role would be worth the time I promise!

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