A Very British Scandal [2021]

Following on the success of the first “season”, A Very British Scandal limited series tries to recreate the charm of scandal storytelling from the first run. Sadly, it fails in almost everything, except its main cast.

One of the most fascinating, slightly tragic things about a “Scandal” is that it’s unable to offer a cure for these ills; that all it can provide is a diagnosis. Add to the mix two damaged people chasing the unattainable, a royal British title, and you get one of the first tabloid scandals of our time.

This taut and tawdry three-part docudrama from Sarah Phelps depicts in great histrionic detail the infamous divorce of the Duke (Paul Bettany) and Duchess (Claire Foy) of Argyll in the early 1960s.

Don’t get me wrong, they are both damaged people. But the Duke, Ian Campbell played by Bettany, is a whole other level of con-artist. He practically invented the career. However, the Duchess, Margaret Campbell, played by Foy is no stranger. She clearly wanted the title, while he was chasing her father’s money.

The cat and mouse chase, followed by a very public fallout provided Foy and Bettany strong planks upon which to build arresting performances. If it wasn’t for their amazing performances, the 3 part limited series would have been unwatchable. At the end, you’ll hate the duke while sympathizing with the duchess….to an extent.

What it’s missing, however, is any lightness of spirit, whiff of humor or much proof that this case is singularly “British” aside from its locale.

A Very British Scandal – Official Trailer
Should you watch it?

The message is hard to understand but it still comes across. It is packaged in such a tantalizing way that the three hours of the series simply fly by, at which point, it’s understandable if you want to press replay, or not.

Where can I watch it?

You can stream all seasons of A Very British Scandal/ A Very English Scandal exclusively on Prime Video in Canada..