BAFTA-nominated Paul Bettany and Emmy and Golden Globe award-winner Claire Foy will star in BBC One and Amazon Studios’ “A Very British Scandal,” from the same team that made “A Very English Scandal.” The three, 60-minute episodes will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and will be available on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Sarah Phelps wrote the limited-series, which focuses on the divorce of the Duke (Paul Bettany) and Duchess of Argyll (Claire Foy). Anne Sewitsky is attached to direct, and Chris Ballantyne will produce the project.
“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,” Phelps said in a statement. “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.”
The description reads, “Famed for her charisma, beauty, and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as a divorcee 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.”
The studio added, “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 toward 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.”
Claire Foy added, “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.”
“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,” remarked Paul Bettany. “I’m also extremely happy to get the chance to once again be working with the wonderful teams at the BBC and Amazon Studios.”
Executive Producers are Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Diarmuid McKeown and Delyth Scudamore for Blueprint Pictures, Lucy Richer for the BBC, Sarah Phelps, Anne Sewitsky, Claire Foy, Kate Triggs, and Dominic Treadwell-Collins. Amazon Studios is co-producing in the US. It was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer.
Pete Czernin, co-founder of Blueprint Pictures said in the announcement, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring together the uniquely brilliant voices of Sarah Phelps and Anne Sewitsky with the class of Claire Foy and Paul Bettany. Uniting their outstanding talents, A Very British Scandal will shine a new light on the scandalous divorce of Margaret Argyll for a 21st century audience.”