The trailer of the new BBC miniseries A Very English Scandal offers a summary of the Thorpe affair in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, in which Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thope was accused of conspiring to murder his lover, Norman Scott. The trailer reveals the ignorance about and prejudice against homosexuality that prevailed in the decade.
Directed by Stephen Frears, the drama features Hugh Grant as Thope and Ben Wishaw as Scott. A Very English Scandal will be aired on BBC One in three parts. The series is based on John Preston’s book of the same name.
The blurb for the non-fiction book reads: “Behind oak-panelled doors in the House of Commons, men with cut-glass accents and gold signet rings are conspiring to murder. It’s the late 1960s and homosexuality has only just been legalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he’s desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his beautiful, unstable lover is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk. With the help of his fellow politicians, Thorpe schemes, deceives, embezzles - until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good.”
Scott has objected to the way he has been portrayed. He told the Mail on Sunday that he feels that he has been misrepresented as a “poor, mincing, little gay person” in the series. “They showed selected critics the first episode and the producers were pleased because they laughed through a lot of it,” he said. “But my story isn’t a comedy – it’s about the total destruction of a person.”