Hugh Grant to Star in BBC Drama About Britain's "Trial of the Century"

Hugh Grant
David Hogan/Getty Images

The actor, an alleged hacking victim, has become the frontman for an organization called Hacked Off, which demands more oversight of the U.K. media. At the group's kickoff event in July, he said, "Grotesque abuses have been allowed to continue because of the cowardice of our politicians."

He will play Jeremy Thorpe, the first U.K. politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder.

Hugh Grant will star in BBC drama A Very English Scandal, directed by Stephen Frears.

Russell Davies is the writer behind the three-part adaptation of the book A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment, by journalist John Preston. 

The drama, commissioned by Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, tells the story of what has been called Britain's "trial of the century."

Grant will play Jeremy Thorpe, the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder. The drama is set in the late 1960s, when homosexuality had only just been decriminalized in Britain, and Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal Party, saw his career at risk as long as his ex-lover Norman Scott was around.

"Thorpe schemes and deceives — until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good," says a BBC show description. "The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed society forever, illuminating the darkest secrets of the establishment. The Thorpe affair revealed such breath-taking deceit and corruption that, at the time, hardly anyone dared believe it could be true."

“Hugh Grant is an extraordinary actor and a worldwide star," said Wenger. "I'm delighted that he is joining the BBC One family and I can't wait to see how he applies his unique talent bringing to life this mercurial role."

The drama will be the first production from Sony-backed Blueprint Television, which launched last June. Headed by former Eastenders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Blueprint Television is a sister company to Graham Broadbent's and Pete Czernin’s Blueprint Pictures, which produced The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the upcoming Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.