A Very British Scandal writer details harrowing true story behind drama ‘Lost everything

A Very British Scandal: Claire Foy stars in BBC trailer

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A Very British Scandal, which is set to air on Boxing Day, will follow 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.

The period drama will focus on one of the most publicised and brutal legal cases to date.

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.

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 said: “The judge ultimately, and the law rinsed her and hung her out to dry.

“The judgement hung her out to dry. 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. 

“She lost everything but Christ she kept her dukes up and carried on battling.”

Sarah went on to compare the Duchess of Argyll to Meghan Markle and “how much the press hates her”.

She continued: “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?”

“That’s your job,” the writer added. “Your job is to be ripped apart by us. 

“And that’s who I thought a lot about when I was writing this.”

Claire, who famously played Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, went on to explain her role as Lady Margaret was “very different”.

The Netflix star explained: “You would look at her and think, she doesn’t look like she’s massively impressive as a person, she just looks like a woman in a dress at a certain period of time. 

“There’s a difference in the period, in the sense that at that period of time, she was the height of class, fashion, beauty and interest, everyone was fascinated by her.”




The actress went on to admit she never wanted her character to come across as “sympathetic”.

“I mean, I think she’s amazing,” Claire explained. “I never intentionally tried to set her out to be that [sympathetic].

“I think my intention was to be really honest about who she was as a person,” she added.

“I think there’s sometimes can be a slight inclination towards people with lots of money in class and things like that of holding them on a pedestal.”

A Very British Scandal airs on Boxing Day on BBC One.

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