When is A Very English Scandal on TV?

Everything you need to know about the upcoming Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw drama about the Jeremy Thorpe scandal

BBC, TL

What time is A Very English Scandal on TV?

The BBC has announced the three-part series will begin airing on Sunday 20th May at 9pm on BBC1, with episode two on Sunday 27th May and episode three on Sunday 3rd June.

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The three-part series is an adaptation of John Preston’s novel centring on one of the biggest scandals in British politics.

What is the series about?

A Very English Scandal centres around British MP and leader of the Liberal party Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant) who was tried and acquitted of plotting to murder his former lover Norman Scott.

Scott had been threatening to expose his relationship with Thorpe at a time not long after homosexuality had been decriminalised in Britain.

Desperate to conceal his secret in order to keep his political career intact, Thorpe set in motion a plan of deception and lies that ultimately culminated in his arrest for conspiracy to murder.

“The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed society forever,” a BBC synopsis reads, “illuminating the darkest secrets of the Establishment.”


Read more about the real history of A Very English Scandal


Who is in the cast?

A Very English Scandal features a glut of British acting talent including rom-com legend Hugh Grant (Notting Hill, Bridget Jones) who plays the show’s central character Jeremy Thorpe.

Most recently Grant starred in the much-loved family film Paddington 2 as well as a Bafta-nominated turn alongside Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins.

In the role of Norman Scott, Thorpe’s accuser, is Skyfall and Spectre star Ben Whishaw. The 37-year-old actor voiced the titular character of Paddington alongside Grant in 2017.

Bafta nominee Monica Dolan stars as Thorpe’s wife Marion and is joined by veteran actors Alex Jennings (The Crown) and Jonathan Hyde (Titanic) as Peter Bessell and David Napely respectively, while Torchwood and Keeping Faith actress Eve Myles plays the role of Gwen Parry-Jones.

Rounding out the cast of the BBC drama are Patricia Hodge, Jason Watkins, Adrian Scarborough, Michele Dotrice and Blake Harrison.

Who is behind the camera?

Bringing A Very English Scandal to the small screen are writer Russell T Davies and director Stephen Frears.

Davies is best known as the former head writer of Doctor Who – the man who masterminded the successful relaunch of the show for a new generation. More recently, Davies worked on the BBC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Channel 4 dramas Cucumber and Banana.

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In the director’s chair sits acclaimed British filmmaker Stephen Frears. The 76-year-old actor directed Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins and released the Judy Dench starring Victoria & Abdul in 2017.