Cast, plot, release date and everything else you want to know!

A very English scandal is a British television comedy-drama series. The 2018 three-part series is based on the 2016 book of the same name by John Preston. It is a dramatization of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal of 1976-1979 and more than 15 years of events that have preceded.

The producers followed A Very English Scandal in 2021 with the series A Very British Scandal, about the Argyll divorce case.

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After meeting Norman Josiffe in 1961 and having been in a relationship together for a few years, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe has to deal with a bitter ex-lover in 1965. The first time Thorpe met Norman, the latter was a stable boy in his early twenties in Oxfordshire, and the two exchanged several letters, which Norman treasured.

Having lost his National Insurance card, Norman was unable to hold down a job and became increasingly difficult to work due to his instability and his passion for acting and self-expression.

The young man made threats when Thorpe grew tired of Norman and asked him to leave the London apartment he had booked and paid for. Thorpe fears public exposure and losing his political career.

a very English scandal

Peter Bessell, a fellow Liberal MP, buys Norman’s silence with small sums of money. A new National Insurance card is requested by Norman, but Thorpe refuses the request as it would link Thorpe to Norman.

When Thorpe was chosen leader of the Liberal Party in 1968, he was the youngest leader for a century. He marries Caroline Allpass, a naive young woman, and they have a son. Although he gets along well with horses and dogs, Norman has become increasingly unstable and goes by the name Norman Scott. He has trouble keeping his job or his relationships, drinks excessively and uses drugs.

While talking with Caroline, he shares details of his previous relationship with her husband. She is baffled by what she has learned. Thorpe mourns the loss of Caroline, who died in 1970 after swerving into oncoming traffic.

Due to his financial difficulties, Bessell moved to the United States. Without success, Norman is still trying to get a new national insurance card and tell his story. Thorpe considers killing him, but the plans keep getting pushed back.

Countess of Harewood Marion Stein married Thorpe in 1973 and he continued to rise in the political ranks. He meets Norman by chance and tells David Holmes (a friend from Oxford) to arrange Norman’s death.

£100,000 is the fee for Andrew Newton’s services. The only thing he manages to kill is Norman’s dog, despite his best efforts. Norman immediately goes to the police as he believes Thorpe ordered the crime.

This leads to the Thorpe case of 1976-1979. In a courtroom, Newton is found guilty of trying to harm Norman and sentenced to death. Within a short time, Norman contacts the police and asks for copies of two letters from Thorpe that he had returned to them in the 60s.

Thorpe resigns as leader of the Liberal Party in May 1976 in order to thwart Norman’s plans to publish the letters and his own version of events. Running for Parliament again, he lost his North Devon seat to Conservative Tony Speller.

a very English scandal

Three people stand trial for Norman’s murder: Thorpe, Holmes and the other two accused co-conspirators. Thorpe enlists the help of a tough lawyer named George Carman to defend his rights.

The trial begins in May 1979, and the media talk about it extensively. During his testimony, Norman stressed the importance of his National Insurance card and the need for his story to be taken seriously.

In his charge to the jury, Chief Justice Cantley is clearly biased in favor of Thorpe and his co-conspirators, who are acquitted.

Thorpe’s name is included at the end of the film’s credits. They were married until Marion’s death in March 2014, and Thorpe died nine months after hers in September 2014. In the United States until her death in 1985, Bessell published her works. No national insurance card for Norman. He is still alive. He owns 11 dogs.


Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe
Ben Whishaw as Norman Josiffe / Norman Scott
Alex Jennings as Peter Bessell
Patricia Hodge as Ursula Thorpe
Monica Dolan as Marion Thorpe
Paul Hilton as David Holmes
Jonathan Hyde as David Napley
Eve Myles as Gwen Parry-Jones
David Bamber as Arthur Gore, 8th Earl of Arran
Jason Watkins as Emlyn Hooson
Blake Harrison as Andrew Newton
Adrian Scarborough as George Carman
Michele Dotrice as Edna Friendship
Alice Orr-Ewing as Caroline Allpass
Michael Culkin as Reggie Maudling
Susan Wooldridge as Fiona Gore, Countess of Arran
Anthony O’Donnell as Leo Abse
Naomi Battrick as Diana Stainton
Dyfan Dwyfor as George Deaki’.

Release date

Starring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw in the lead roles, the first season was written by Russell T Davies and directed by Stephen Frears, with Russell T Davies also writing the second season.

When the BBC television drama was first announced, Grant was already cast as Thorpe, according to the broadcaster’s website.

a very English scandal

It was announced in August that Ben Whishaw would join the cast, and it was announced in October that the rest of the cast would join him. Amazon acquired the rights to the show in the United States along with the additional casting announcement.

The series premiered on BBC One on May 20, 2018 and will be available on Amazon Prime on June 29, 2018. The DVD was officially released on July 2, 2018.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a very English scandal a true story?

A Very English Scandal is a British comedy-drama television series. The 2018 three-part series is based on the 2016 book of the same name by John Preston. It is a dramatization of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal of 1976-1979 and more than 15 years of events that have preceded.

When was A Very English Scandal released on DVD?

The DVD was released on July 2, 2018. A Very English Scandal received very positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an approval rating of 97% based on 68 reviews, with an average rating of 8.80/10.


Based on a true story and starring Golden Globe-nominated actor Hugh Grant, ‘A Very English Scandal’ depicts the story of British MP Jeremy Thorpe, who was acquitted of attempting to murder his estranged lover. Norman Scott in 1979 after being convicted of the crime. During the 1960s, Thorpe became the youngest party leader in 100 years to lead the Liberal Party. At a time when homosexuality is still illegal, he must keep a secret. To prevent the problem from coming to light, Thorpe comes up with a plan of action that ultimately exposes the scandal and exposes a level of dark secrets and cover-ups in the British establishment.