"A Very English Scandal" Episode #1.3 (TV Episode 2018) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)


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Episode 3
Prismark104 June 2018
By the time episode 3 was broadcast, the Jeremy Thorpe scandal was making headline news again as the police tried to contact the alleged hitman Andrew Newton who was presumed dead. The farce just continues.

Events spiral out of control in Thorpe's life, the police are now interested in questioning him and he stands trial at the Old Bailey but not before he loses his seat in the May 1979 general election.

Thorpe could consider himself fortunate. His barrister was George Carmen, he managed to get Ken Dodd off his tax problems. Carmen was so good they said he could get Stevie Wonder a pilot's licence!

More importantly the prosecution witnesses were unreliable. Peter Bessell would double his money on a guilty outcome. Norman Scott's behaviour had been so erratic, he could easily be painted as a slippery character. In fact Scott was portrayed better here in withstanding his cross examination than in the real life court case where he was just seen as capricious and a fool. (Even the director of this drama Stephen Frears has mentioned how Scott who had a private viewing of the series told everybody this was a wonderful piece and later said it was dreadful.)

Thorpe's case was aided by the judge's rather slanted summing up where he damned Scott's character. An incident that was mocked by the comedian Peter Cook, footage of which was shown at the end credits.

Russell T Davies has delivered a wonderful black comedy. He has been greatly assisted by his actors, even Paul Freeman makes a last minute attempt at larceny as a scene stealing turn as the judge.
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Verdict for the Bunnies
lavatch5 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This third and final segment of "A Very English Scandal" was without doubt the most compelling of the series. The strength of the program was in the filmmakers' success in impartiality in judging the various characters. It also includes one of best trial recreations in recent memory.

The evidence clearly points to Jeremy Thorpe's culpability in directing an amateur and botched murder attempt on his former paramour Norman Scott. But a brilliant defense attorney, George Carman, has been pulled out of prison to represent Thorpe. Carman casts enough doubt on the motivation of the two star witnesses, Norman and Pedro Bessell, to lead the jury to ponder whether Thorpe had genuinely wanted Norman killed, or if he was merely engaged in a kind of wish-fulfilling thinking.

The two characters who stand most firmly behind Thorpe during the trial are his wife Marion and his defense attorney Carman. The most riveting scene of the entire series comes outside of the courtroom in a private conversation between Thorpe and Carman. In those moments, the attorney (also a closeted gay man) wonders why Thorpe invested as much emotionally as he did in a character like Norman. The thoughtful response of Thorpe speaks volumes about the social stigma, as well as the dangers, of being homosexual in England in this period.

The performance of Hugh Grant was spot on in this program. His character's unflappable demeanor during the period of arrest and trial was totally engrossing. It is difficult even to imagine anyone other than Grant in the role.
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