In 1961, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant) has a romantic affair with a troubled young man, Norman (Ben Whishaw); as Thorpe’s political career takes off, Norman gets back in touch… The 1970s sex scandal and conspiracy-to-murder trial that ended the career of the Liberal Party leader at the time gets a very, very enjoyable TV treatment, done with a generous amount of dark humor but also a clear understanding for the leading characters and what motivates them. Grant and Whishaw are brilliant as the politician who has it all and the young, penniless man whose trusting nature makes him vulnerable; Grant and Alex Jennings also have great rapport.
2018-Britain. Made for TV. 169 min. Color. Produced by Dan Winch. Directed by Stephen Frears. Teleplay: Russell T. Davies. Book: John Preston. Cast: Hugh Grant (Jeremy Thorpe), Ben Whishaw (Norman Josiffe), Monica Dolan (Marion Thorpe), Alice Orr-Ewing, Alex Jennings, Jonathan Hyde.
Trivia: Originally shown in three parts. Co-executive produced by Frears. Followed by another miniseries, A Very British Scandal (2021).
Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor (Whishaw). Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor (Whishaw).
Last word: “I always thought [Grant would] be the right person. I think he looks rather like Thorpe. He is in his own way quite cadaverous. I think he’s fantastic – staggering – and he’s very funny of course. Thorpe was a funny man and the whole thing is so ludicrous, so he could both play it dramatically and on a comic level as well. That’s what’s so good about him.” (Frears, BBC)