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May 2019



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TV watch: A Very English Scandal

Photo BBC

The BBC’s new series, A Very English Scandal is good; very good. An hour’s viewing passed by in a flash, always a good sign. As I’ve written before, I’m old enough to remember the unfolding of the Thorpe scandal and have also read John Preston’s book, on which this series is based. I don’t really want to write about the drama so much as about Hugh Grant. I’m rather sick of reading, from both professional critics and bloggers, that Grant’s performance is ‘surprising’ or ‘revelatory’ because the writer had previously thought of him as ‘just’ a romcom actor. Just? Since when did comic acting become easier than any other kind? Don’t you think that a lot of hard work and serious craft goes into playing a romantic lead? Take Cary Grant, the absolute master of the genre. Did he make it to the top without hard work and artistry? Hugh Grant is a very good actor and, IMO, plays Thorpe very well indeed, capturing the charm and glamour of the man but also his recklessness and his ruthless streak. He’s totally believable, which is the more remarkable in that he’s playing a man who was thirty years his junior at the time of these events.



I'm with you. I think HG is a great actor! The whole comedy thing is true in literature, too. PG Wodehouse doesn't get the praise a more 'serious' writer gets. So hoping that Acorn or Britbox will bring this show to the US.
Hurrah! We agree. I do hope you get the chance to see this.


The first part was thoroughly entertaining. Fab cast and director. I completely agree about Hugh Grant. Apart from being a wonderful comedy actor he is also a great character actor and seems to go from strength to strength especially as he grows older. Like you I remember the Jeremy Thorpe scandal.
Glad we agree. And let's hear it for Alex Jennings. I've seen him on the stage and admired him for years.
Sorry about the previou anonymous comment, I forgot to log in :)

I agree about Alex Jennings. He's one of those actors who is usually in a main supporting role whose name people don't readily know but who always does a great job. He's been in some big series recently.
Yes, and very good as the Duke of Windsor in The Crown, I thought.