A Very English Scandal

Series/LGBTQ | In English | 1 season (3 episodes). Each episode is 56 minutes | Original Release on May 20, 2018


Jeremy Thorpe, a Liberal member of the British Parliament, had for several years,  a relationship with a younger man, Norman Josiffe, a former stable boy. Josiffe, however, was unstable and difficult, so Thorpe decided to end the affair. An angry Josiffe threatens to expose Jeremy. With the help of fellow MP Peter Bessell, Jeremy agrees to hold off Norman with threats and with money. A few years later, Thorpe becomes the youngest man to be elected  Leader of the Liberal Party. He marries Caroline Allpass and they have a baby boy. Norman Josiffe (now calling himself Norman Scott) contacts Caroline and reveals to her his past relationship with Thorpe. A bereft Caroline is killed in an automobile accident and Thorpe marries again to a countess, Marion Stein. Thorpe runs into Norman and in a panic decides the only solution is to have Andrew Newton, a hired killer, murder Norman. The attempt fails. Norman, certain that Thorpe was behind the murder attempt, notifies the police. And thus begins the Jeremy Thorpe scandal. Thorpe resigns as Leader of the Liberal Party and he and his co-conspirators are indicted and tried for the attempted murder of Norman Scott. The trial becomes tense as both sides present what seems like damaging testimony. Jeremy’s lawyer stuns the court by refusing to have Jeremy testify. The jury’s decision will determine if Jeremy has a political future and, more importantly, if he’ll end up in jail.

Hugh Grant (Jeremy Thorpe) / Ben Whishaw (Norman Josiffe/Norman Scott) / Monica Dolan  (Marion Thorpe) / Alice Orr-Ewing (Caroline Allpass) / Alex Jennings (Peter Bessell) / Blake Harrison  (Andrew Newton)
Why Stream This Film?
During the scandal, Parliament passed the 1967 Sexual Offenses Act, which decriminalized homosexual acts between two adults over the age of 21. But the law did not altogether diminish the harm caused by the persistent bigotry. A Very English Scandal, an extraordinary series, is the true story of how this bigotry can destroy lives.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 97% 97%
  • Metacritics 84% 84%

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Repression, denial and gentility are the pillars of this high-end show, written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Stephen Frears. And when those pillars topple, what results is a juicy, wild lesson in British queer history, a story that’s able to hold a sense of moral fury toward the hatred that gay and bisexual men (and women) faced while still finding the tabloid outrageousness at hand titillating. A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL is a dazzling three hours.
Margaret Lyons

The New York Times

Director Stephen Frears does his best work in over a decade. Here he brings the absolute best out of Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, who give riveting performances in the telling of one of the U.K’s most shocking political scandals. This is a must-see.
Brian Tallerico


There is an eccentric bit of electricity that runs through A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL, one of the tightest and brightest and most sublime miniseries that you’re likely to see on television. In a mere three hours—it could easily have been stretched to six—that’s an impressive achievement. And maybe the brevity of it all and the stylistic choices are what make it work. The series is almost absurd, except that the story is both true and deeply tragic.
Tim Goodman

The Hollywood Reporter

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