London Spy and James Bond star Ben Whishaw has been set as the co-lead opposite Hugh Grant in BBC One’s three-part Jeremy Thorpe drama A Very English Scandal. He will play Norman Scott. Whishaw is represented by Hamilton Hodell and CAA.
“Ben Whishaw is an extraordinary actor and we are thrilled to announce he will star opposite Hugh Grant in this scandalous real-life story for BBC One”, said the BBC’s Controller of Drama Piers Wenger. “I cannot wait to see this first-class British duo bring Russell’s powerful scripts to life.”
A Very English Scandal is set in the late 1960s when homosexuality has only just been decriminalised and Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), 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 (Ben Whishaw) 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. Further casting is expected to announced in due course.
The three-part drama will tell the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder. 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. Russel T. Davies penned the scripts for the three-parter, which is set up at the nascent Sony backed indie Blueprint Television. The Queen helmer Stephen Frears is attached to direct, while Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and the BBC’s Lucy Richer will executive produce.