Claire Foy just can’t get enough of period dramas about British aristocracy — and neither can audiences. It’s a match made in heaven, unlike the troubled marriage at the heart of her new series “A Very British Scandal.” Hailing from BBC One and Amazon, the provocative period drama sees “The Crown” star playing Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, opposite “WandaVision” star Paul Bettany as Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll. From the looks of this first trailer, sparks fly when the two seasoned actors go head to head as a couple going through an acrimonious divorce. Of course, this being the 1960s, the Duchess ends up paying a high price for her sexual freedom.
The three-part series tells the story of the couple’s highly publicized 1963 divorce proceedings. Known for her charisma, beauty, and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated newspapers as the divorce exposed accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-use, and bribery. In his effort to besmirch her name, the Duke released a list of her conquests that included government ministers and members of the British royal family, as well as a compromising Polaroid photo that would haunt her for the rest of her life.
“A Very British Scandal” explores the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes toward women, and highlighting the widespread institutional misogyny of the time.
“Sex is the one thing you can get a woman on,” Foy recently told The Sunday Times. “It is a quick way to make a woman subhuman, wrong, and weird. It happens in every walk of life.”
If the title sounds familiar, it’s because “A Very British Scandal” is produced by Blueprint Pictures, the team behind “A Very English Scandal,” another three-part drama series based on a famous real-life sex scandal. The first series starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw; it was written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Stephen Frears. For this feminist follow-up, the producers have tapped prolific British TV writer Sarah Phelps (“EastEnders”) to write, with Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky (“Castle Rock”) directing.
All three episodes of “A Very British Scandal” will air on BBC One over consecutive nights, beginning December 26, and will be available to watch immediately on BBC iPlayer. It will be available in 2022 on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Check out the first trailer below.