A Very British Scandal writer cut scenes in BBC drama ‘So much we couldn’t put in’

A Very British Scandal: Claire Foy stars in BBC trailer

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A Very British Scandal, which began on Boxing Day, follows a dramatised version of real-life events surrounding the scandalous marriage and then divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll during the 1960s. The Crown actress Claire Foy has taken on the role of Lady Margaret Campbell, while Paul Bettany will play her on-screen husband Ian Campbell.

Claire plays Lady Margaret, who was a British socialite and was well known for being scandalous in the press.

She was always a regular fixture on the front of newspapers, who often branded her the Dirty Duchess.

The three-part drama follows the Duke and Duchess’ marriage through to their messy divorce, which Lady Margaret lost in court,

Speaking in an interview with Express.co.uk and other press, BBC writer Sarah Phelps discussed the real Lady Margaret, and how she portrayed her life in the drama.

She went on to explain there were many scenes they couldn’t include in the finished cut.

Speaking about one particular scene, the writer explained: “There was a point where she tied to blackmail somebody, basically saying he’d had an affair with her.

“But she’s not cut out for espionage. She’s so bad and they managed to tape her.

“And they’re saying ‘look, Duchess, this is your voice’ and she’s saying, ‘No it’s an actress’.”

“She was absolutely useless about lying,” she added.

Sarah went on to discuss how the judge and the law hung Lady Margaret out to dry.

She continued: “For four hours he [the judge] spoke for [in court] and it was absolutely about ridiculing her and completely dismantling her as a woman for her sexual behaviour and making it almost impossible.

“And that’s what is the coolest thing. She lost.”

Sharing her admiration for Lady Margaret, Sarah said: “She lost everything but Christ she kept her dukes up and carried on battling.”

The writer went on to compare the Duchess of Argyll to Meghan Markle, reflecting: “I think a lot about Meghan Markle and about how much the press hates her, how much they absolutely go for her all the time compared with Kate Middleton. 

“And there’s a kind of prevailing idea that if you’re in the public eye, you’re fair game, you’re meat.”



 “If you put yourself out there, you are meat, and if you get bruised, so what?” she added.

Claire, who famously played Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix drama The Crown, went on to claim Margaret had a “real pathological problem with lying”.

“Like, there are tapes that you can listen to where you can hear the clocks in her brain,” the actress explained.

“But like a four-year-old child, she was bad at it. But she doesn’t see the connection.”

A Very British Scandal airs on Monday at 9pm on BBC One.

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