Hugh Grant is to return to British television screens for the first time since the early 1990s as the disgraced MP Jeremy Thorpe.
“Hugh Grant is an extraordinary actor and a worldwide star. I’m delighted that he is joining the BBC One family and I can’t wait to see how he applies his unique talent bringing to life this mercurial role.” – Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama
A Very English Scandal is based on the bestselling book by the author John Preston. The three part teleplay has been written by former Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies.
The drama tells, over each hour long edition, 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 in 1979 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.
Hugh Grant is best known for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and About A Boy. Grant made his big screen debut in Privileged by director Michael Hoffman, however in more recent times has been seen on television as himself standing up against the ‘sordid’ tabloid press and mainstream media for dubious reporting. Grant was one of a number of celebrities who had their private voicemails ‘hacked’ into by reporters. He hosted his own special Taking On The Tabloids for Channel 4 in 2012 and this weekend took a swipe at the Tories, on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, for their lack of future commitment to the Leveson Inquiry, which aimed to put the press under scrutiny over its handling of issues such as the ‘phone hacking’ cases.
“Hugh is one our most iconic British actors – sharp, witty, deeply human and nuanced – and to have him play one of the most controversial figures of British politics is utterly thrilling. With Russell T Davies writing and Stephen Frears directing, A Very English Scandal unites the highest level of talent to bring this extraordinary true story to life.” – Executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins