Television Review – A Very English Scandal (2018)


A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL,  starring Hugh Grant (Paddington 2, Notting Hill) as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw (TV’s “London Spy”, Spectre) as his lover Norman Scott, is out on DVD on July 2nd from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The BBC’s critically acclaimed series adapted from John Preston’s book “A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment” also stars Alex Jennings (The Lady In The Van), Jonathan Hyde (TV’s “The Strain”, Breathe), David Bamber (TV’s “Pride and Prejudice”, “Gunpowder”), Patricia Hodge (TV’s “Miranda”), is written by Russell T Davies (TV’s “Dr Who”, “Queer As Folk”, “Cucumber”) and directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Florence Foster Jenkins, Philomena, Dangerous Liaisons). It’s executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin for Blueprint Television and Lucy Richer for the BBC and produced by Dan Winch.


A Very English Scandal is the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy to murder.  It’s the late 1960s, homosexuality has only just been decriminalized, and Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), the leader of the Liberal party and the youngest leader of any British political party in a hundred years, has a secret he’s desperate to hide.

As long as Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw), his vociferous ex-lover is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk, and eventually, Thorpe can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed politics forever as the British public discovered the darkest secrets of the Establishment and the lengths they’d go to conceal them.

Review – Contains Spoilers

Set in a decade where the mere mention of homosexual out loud was frowned upon, this series really brings home how hard the LGBT community has had to work to be accepted!

The series portrays how Jeremy Thorpe meets and takes a young man as his lover. Who ends up renting out a flat for him to live in and ‘pop over and see’ every now and then, starts to spend less time with him until Norman Scott can no longer take it and they start to argue.

Knowing Norman has had mental issues in the past this is really hard to watch, and you really feel for him. As a young influential young man, he ends up getting involved with various crowds and on to the sex, drugs and rock and roll scene!

Other than the murder plot, the other half of the series is due to Scott wanting his National Insurance card, which left behind when he came down to London. Jeremy agreed to help get his card for him, as he ‘does not exist’ without out, and throughout the series stresses about this card. You can’t help but feel if JT had done what was asked in the first place, Scott would have gone along his merry way.

Scott starts to become an issue for Jeremy long after they have split, as he for one is not afraid to tell everyone and anyone who listens that JT was his lover. It is then, that the plot to kill him is born!

We are shown how corrupt the government officials can be, how scared some are that they are willing to help commit murder!

Whilst the series is of a serious nature and is tackling issues such as murder and homophobia, it also has a dark humour to it, where one moment you are having a silent giggle (usually with regard to Scott) and then in the next moment a shocking scene, leaving viewers very conflicted.

This 3 part series has a great cast and Hugh Grant plays a magnificent JT. You forget its even Grant by the end of the series and leaves you want to know more details on the truth behind Jeremy Thorpe and the attempted murder of his lover Norman Scott.

Rachael Jess

Television, Drama |UK, 2018 | 15 | Out Now | BBC | Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Alex Jennings, Patricia Hodge