A Very English Scandal is based on the bestselling book by the author and former Arts Editor of the Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph, John Preston, that tells the shocking account of Thorpe, who, in 1979, was tried but acquitted of conspiring to murder his ex-lover Norman Scott.
Whishaw is BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning actor, known for his acclaimed Hamlet for Trevor Nunn, Danny Holt in BBC Two’s London Spy, Freddie Lyon in BBC Two’s The Hour – and as Q in the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre. He has starred in numerous other feature films including Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, I’m Not There, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, Cloud Atlas, The Lobster, Suffragette, and The Danish Girl. He was celebrated in his role as He is represented by Christian Hoddell at Hamilton Hodell and Hylda Queally at CAA.
Written by the BAFTA Award winning writer Russell T Davies and directed by Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Stephen Frears, the BBC One three-part drama (3 x 60 minutes) is 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 (Broadchurch, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams). The drama was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content.
Russell T Davies says of the casting:
“It’s a dream come true, to work with Ben. One of Britain’s finest actors playing one of history’s most fascinating men.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Ben Whishaw is an extraordinary actor and we are thrilled to announce he will star opposite Hugh Grant in this scandalous real-life story for BBC One. I cannot wait to see this first-class British duo bring Russell’s powerful scripts to life.”
A Very English Scandal is the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder. It is the late 1960s, homosexuality has only just been decriminalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, 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 his ex-lover Norman Scott is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk. Thorpe schemes and deceives – until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed society forever, illuminating the darkest secrets of the Establishment. The Thorpe affair revealed such breath-taking deceit and corruption that, at the time, hardly anyone dared believe it could be true.
This will be the first production from Sony-backed Blueprint Television, which launched last June. Headed by Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and former EastEnders Executive Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Blueprint Television is sister company to Blueprint Pictures, which produced The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the upcoming Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.