Casting News: Claire Foy and Paul Bettany to Star in 'A Very British Scandal'

Claire Foy and Paul Bettany are set to star in A Very British Scandal, a miniseries from the makers of A Very English Scandal.

The two actors will portray Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, and Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll, an upper-crust couple whose 1963 divorce case became a tabloid-fueled national talking point.

As the couple's marriage was breaking down, the Duke employed a locksmith to break into his wife's private cupboard at their London home. He then included photographs of his estranged wife in a compromising position with another man in the case.

The case against her also claimed that she had "consorted" with as many as 88 men during the marriage. However, it was later revealed that many of these men were gay, and the Duchess had refused to divulge their sexual orientation during legal proceedings because homosexuality was illegal in the U.K. at the time.

The three-part miniseries, a co-production between the BBC and Amazon Studios, is being written by Sarah Phelps, whose previous credits include The Pale Horse, Dublin Murders, and several BBC Agatha Christie adaptations including Ordeal by Innocence.

Phelps said in a press release: "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. 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."

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.”

Bettany said of the series, which is due to shoot this year: “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. I’m also extremely happy to get the chance to once again be working with the wonderful teams at the BBC and Amazon Studios.”

A Very English Scandal, which aired in 2018, was written by former Doctor Who show runner Russell T Davies. It centered on a 1970s sex scandal involving British MP Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant) and model/stablehand Norman Josiffe (Ben Whishaw) which effectively ended the former's political career. Whishaw's performance won him Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA awards.

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