A Very British Scandal – first look at Claire Foy and Paul Bettany

Posted Filed under

Writer Sarah Phelps has told the tale of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll and her notorious divorce.

The BBC and Amazon Studios have released the first images from their upcoming series A Very British Scandal. The drama tells the story of the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, described as “the most notorious, extraordinary, and brutal legal cases of the 20th century”.

It stars Claire Foy (The Crown) as Margaret, with Paul Bettany (Wandavision) as Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll. The drama has been written by Sarah Phelps, who has been responsible for a string of Agatha Christie adaptations for the BBC.

The series follows in the footsteps of 2018’s A Very English Scandal, the story of the downfall of the Liberal party leader Jeremy Thorpe, which was written by Russell T Davies and starred Hugh Grant and Ben Wilshaw.

Here’s the synopsis:

A Very British Scandal 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.

Famed for her charisma, beauty, and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages, as the divorce exposed accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, bribery, and an explicit Polaroid picture that was to haunt her for the rest of her life.

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.

The ensemble

The show boasts an impressively glamourous cast with Foy and Bettany joined by Julia Davis (Nighty Night), Sophia Myles (A Discovery Of Witches), Jonathan Aris (Sherlock, The Night Manager) and Miles Jupp (The Durrells). For the rest of the extensive ensemble, you can check out the press release.

A Very British Scandal will play out over three hour-long episodes and is directed by Anne Sewitsky, produced by Chris Ballantyne. Executive Producers are Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Diarmuid McKeown, and Delyth Scudamore for Blueprint Pictures, Lucy Richer for the BBC, Sarah Phelps, Anne Sewitsky, Claire Foy, Kate Triggs, and Dominic Treadwell-Collins.

The show is ‘coming soon’ to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, perhaps at Christmas, and will be available in 2022 on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Naturally, CultBox will keep you posted.