The hour-long, three-episode series focuses on the divorce of the Duke (Bettany) and Duchess of Argyll (Foy), one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th Century. It was infamous for featuring accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery, and an explicit Polaroid picture. The series will examine how the Duchess refused to go quietly as she was betrayed by her friends and publicly shamed by a society that reveled in her fall from grace.
More from Variety
The hour-long, three-episode series will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the U.K. and on Amazon in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Filming will take place across the U.K. later this year.
Sarah Phelps will write and executive produce, with Anne Sewitsky directing and executive producing. Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Diarmuid McKeown, and Delyth Scudamore will executive produce for Blueprint Pictures, which produced “A Very English Scandal.” Foy will also executive produce along with Lucy Richer for the BBC, Kate Triggs, and Dominic Treadwell-Collins. Amazon Studios is co-producing in the US. It was commissioned by Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer.
“A Very English Scandal” was released in 2018 and covered the so-called Thorpe affair. It starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. It debuted to strong critical acclaim, with both Grant and Whishaw receiving nominations Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations. Whishaw won all three awards.
“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,” Foy said.
Foy broke out in Seasons 1 and 2 of “The Crown” at Netflix in the role of Queen Elizabeth II. Her time on the show won her both a Golden Globe and an Emmy. She also played Anne Boleyn in the 2015 miniseries “Wolf Hall.” Her feature roles include “First Man” and “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” She is repped by UTA and Independent Talent Group.
“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,” Bettany said. “I’m also extremely happy to get the chance to once again be working with the wonderful teams at the BBC and Amazon Studios.”
Bettany is fresh off his starring role in the Disney Plus series “WandaVision,” which saw him reprise the role of Vision from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He also recently starred in the first season of “Manhunt” as the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. He has starred in films like “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Margin Call,” and “A Knight’s Tale.” He is repped by UTA, Independent Talent Group, Affirmative Entertainment & Productions, and Ziffren Brittenham.
“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,” Phelps said. “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.”
Best of Variety