Series one of BBC One’s A Very English Scandal anthology was a huge success, and now the series is back for a second run, now titled A Very British Scandal.
This time it’s written by Sarah Phelps – who adapted the recent quintet of Agatha Christie novels – and focuses on the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th century.
Claire Foy and Paul Bettany take the lead roles.
Famed for her charisma, beauty and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as a divorce 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.
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. 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.
Sarah Phelps says: “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. 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.”
Claire 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.”
Paul Bettany said: “I’m delighted to be working with the remarkable Claire Foy to tell the fascinating and scandalous story of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and their very complicated lives. I’m also extremely happy to get the chance to once again be working with the wonderful teams at the BBC and Amazon Studios.”
The series is set to begin filming later in 2021, and will be shown on BBC One and Amazon worldwide.
READ MORE: OUR REVIEW OF A VERY BRITISH SCANDAL