- Director: Stephen Frears
- Writer: Russell T. Davies; John Preston
- Producer: Graham Broadbent; Peter Czernin
Institutional corruption, collusion and privilege...make for a great farce!
Throw into the mix some deft direction and a script that snaps relentlessy at your ankles while tickling your ribs at the same time...
Seriously, can this be a serious account of the scandal that glued the nation to the edge of their seats? It most certainly is...because, the Thorpe/Scott 'affair' was a complete farce replete with 'bunnies' and sexual shenanigans, attempted murder and unbridled mayhem, skullduggery and subtefuge, miscarriages of justice and no justice whatsoever!
Hugh Grant plays with Thorpe as Thorpe played with his pawns...with lofty superiority, a vertitable cat-and-mouse game...that is until the mouse roared! Not so much as a roar, Ben Whishaw's Scott is - prima facie - a delicate, somewhat affected, sensitive man. Difficult to like and, as Mr Thorpe, found out...impossible to ignore!
The trial judge, Sir Joseph Cantley, in his summary [for the defence!], famously said of Thorpe’s chief accuser: “He is a crook, a fraud, a sponger, a whiner and a parasite . . . But, of course, he could still be telling the truth.”
Great British justice in action - a sham and a scam!!! It's hysterical, jaw-dropping...and, tragically, true!
Even George Carman [quite possibly, the most intimidating and successful defence barrister of all time] is ruffled by Mr Scott - why didn't you warn me he is so damn clever!
But...when Carman and Thorpe discuss the 'whys' of the case, there is a true sign-of-the-times, heart-breaking reality revealed...and, it is as tragic as the whole damn affair!
Russell T. Davies' writing tips the emotional balance from left to right and back again, sympathies are switched, loyalties are quashed...and all because one man loved another man!
There is always more to any story told...there is so much more to this story than has already been told...
40 years ago, Tom Mangold made a documentary about the scandal...it was never shown, until now [at the time of writing, it is available to watch on BBC4]. It certainly fills in a few gaps.
Furthermore, Mr Mangold revisits the case and interviews an elderly Norman Scott...he brings the 'sadness' than Russell T. Davies created in the drama to a whole new level.
There's a fine line between tragedy and comedy...it takes an indescribable and enviable talent to pull it off...A Very English Scandal does the job perfectly, a team effort with not one weak link!
British politician Jeremy Thorpe is accused of murdering his ex-lover and is forced to stand trial in 1979.