‘A Very British Scandal’ preview: First look at Claire Foy in BBC’s new ’60s drama

The first photos from the upcoming A Very English Scandal follow-up have been released.

Created by screenwriter Russell T Davies (It’s a SinThe Grand), the award-winning A Very English Scandal was a huge hit with audiences and critics when it aired in 2018.

The mini-series told the incredible true story of politician Jeremy Thorpe’s attempts to silence ex-lover Norman Scott following the pair’s secret affair in the 1960s.

A sequel series was first announced in 2019, with the show’s creators revealing plans to dramatise another real-life scandalous tale.

Titled A Very British Scandal, the brand new three-part drama focuses on “one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th century”: the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll.

Watch the trailer here:


Claire Foy (The Crown) and Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code) are leading the cast as the Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll and Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll respectively.

Foy previously said: “I’m so excited to work with Anne, Sarah and Paul on this extraordinary project, and to explore through this story, how often shame, judgement and controversy surrounds a woman’s sexuality.”

Bettany added: “I’m delighted to be working with the remarkable Claire Foy to tell the fascinating and scandalous story of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and their very complicated lives.”

The official synopsis reads: “Famed for her charisma, beauty and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as a divorce featuring accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery and an explicit polaroid picture – all played out in the white-hot glare of the 1960s media.

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.”

Foy and Bettany will be joined by Julia Davis (Gavin & Stacey), Amanda Drew (The Trial Of Christine Keeler), Richard McCabe (Poldark), Phoebe Nicholls (Fortitude), Camilla Rutherford (Phantom Thread), Timothy Renouf (The Laureate), Sophia Myles (Spooks), Sophie Ward (Land Girls), Tim Steed (Cruella), and Katherine Manners (War & Peace).

A Very British Scandal is set to premiere this autumn on BBC One in the UK, and in early 2022 on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.

The cast also includes Richard Goulding (The Crown), Jonathan Aris (Sherlock), Oliver Chris (King Charles III), Nicholas Rowe (Roadkill), and Miles Jupp (The Durrells).

Directed by Anne Sewitsky, A Very British Scandal began filming in England this summer.

Writer Sarah Phelps, best known for her Agatha Christie adaptations, has said: “Writing the story of Margaret’s life and the events leading up to and including her divorce from the Duke has been a passion project of mine since 1993 when I first heard her name and started learning about her.”

She explained: “I felt very strongly that she’d been punished for being a woman, for being visible, for refusing to back down, be a good girl and go quietly. This drama is my tribute to her.”

A Very English Scandal executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins previously explained their choice of subject matter for Season 2: “The Duchess of Argyll was the first woman to be publicly slut-shamed.”

He said: “We’re going to focus on the very public divorce from her second husband. He went through her private desk and found a list of all the men she’d slept with, as well as three Polaroid photos of her wearing only her pearls and giving a blow job to a man whose head was out of the picture.

“At the time, the news was in all the papers – people thought that it could have been a member of the royal family or the government or a Hollywood actor. No one still knows who it was.”

Claire Foy’s new period drama movie The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is out in cinemas now.

A Very English Scandal is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.