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Hugh Grant to star in BBC's A Very English Scandal

Hugh Grant in Music & Lyrics

Story by Jack Foley

HUGH Grant is to play the lead role in the new three-part BBC drama A Very English Scandal.

As previously announced, Stephen Frears – of Florence Foster Jenkins and Philomena fame – is to direct the adaptation of John Preston’s book, A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment.

Grant, star of films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, recently collaborated with Frears on the critically-acclaimed Florence Foster Jenkins, for which he earned Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild nominations.

He will take the lead role of Jeremy Thorpe, the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder.

Thorpe, the former leader of the Liberal Party, found his career in tatters following claims that he had hired someone to kill a former male lover who was threatening to reveal their relationship.

Thorpe repeatedly denied the relationship with Norman Scott, and was finally acquitted in a trial in 1979. But his political career was finished by the scandal.

In previewing the drama, a statement from the BBC read: “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…

“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.”

On Grant’s casting, Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, 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.”

Former Doctor Who show-runner Russell T Davies has written the drama, which is expected to air in 2018.

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