A Very British Scandal Review – Tantalizing, Sensational, Outrageous

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A Very British Scandal, a three-part Amazon Original series, presents the public shaming of the Duchess of Argyll during her divorce proceedings as the British media brutally shame and denigrate her for her liberal sexual attitudes.

The three-part series begins with a mob scene outside the court as The Duchess of Argyll, played by Claire Foy, is arriving to face her husband, the Duke of Argyll, played by Paul Bettany, in their court proceedings. He stops her before court is to begin and explains he has the evidence, and he will ruin her.

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We're introduced to a younger Margaret, who through the good fortune of her father, George, played by Richard McCabe, she was independently wealthy and single. The sexual revolution was sweeping the globe, and she was very much a part of it. She was liberal and active like those in her social circle who were wealthy, single, and bored, so between alcohol and parties, there was sex and, as we discover, lots of it.

She kept a meticulous social calendar, volumes of small diaries filled with appointments, dates, and codes to remember the encounters which even with her delicate commemorations becomes targeted during the divorce proceedings.

On a chance meeting, she meets the Duke of Argyll, and he is obviously someone who is accustomed to having his own way. He takes her to his Inveraray Castle, which is in serious disrepair and as she waits outside of earshot, we understand he is a man of very limited means, nearly title only.

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Soon after they are married, and she begin the monumental task of redecorating and renovating the castle, he in unable to hide his true self and a darker side of his personality is revealed. More than simply rude, in the beginning he is hurtful, condescending, and of course this gives way to physical violence.

He also comes with several previous wives and has two adorable sons. On the day Margaret has a party to showcase the castle, we find out that through some law, the castle, the land and all the property they enjoy now as a couple will only go to his sons. Even though she has invested much of her own money in repairing the home, she is not entitled to any of it.

This becomes a tipping point for her. We see that she also has a dark side, as the marriage is now about who can deceitfully circumvent or destroy the other. She is cunning. We also find out that he is notorious for marrying wealthy heiresses bleeding them dry and then divorcing them. And as he explains, she is only there to pay the bills.

Soon the two are spending more time apart, she in London and he drunk in some hotel, she is criticized by his former staff, who she let go as someone who should be more attentive, devoted, a wife who overlooks and hides her feelings for the sake of the marriage.

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Over time it becomes clear the marriage has run it course, and her father who tried to ensure she would be compensated should the marriage end, presented her a document that The Duke signed which guaranteed her assets.

What followed dominated the front pages as a divorce featured 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. 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 reveled in her fall from grace.

Sensational and tantalizing, A Very British Scandal is one of the most notorious, extraordinary, and brutal legal cases of the 20th century.

A Very British Scandal premieres on Amazon Prime April 22, 2022. A binge worthy must see.

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Country: UK.

Language: English.

Runtime: 3 episode/177minutes total

Release Date: April 22, 2022.

Writer: Sarah Phelps.

Director: Anne Sewitsky

Producer: Chris Ballantyne.

Cast: Claire Foy, Paul Bettany, Julia Davis, Phoebe Nicolls, Richard McCabe, Sophia Myles, Miles Jupp, Richard Goulding, Camillia Rutherford, Amanda Drew, Timothy Renouf, Albertine Kotting McMillan, Alex Skarbek, Lawrence Oswald, David Hargreaves.

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