Love Actually star Hugh Grant is to play MP Jeremy Thorpe, who in 1979 was acquitted of conspiring to murder his ex-lover Norman Scott, in a new BBC One drama written by former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies.
The three-part drama marks Grant’s return to British television screens for the first time since the early 1990s and is based on the bestselling book by the author and former Arts Editor of the Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph John Preston.
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.
Executive Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: “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.”
BBC Drama boss Piers Wenger added: “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.”