British actor Ben Whishaw will be joining Hugh Grant in the three-part BBC One drama A Very English Scandal, writer Russell T. Davies announced Friday at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, playing an important role in the telling of the controversial story.
Grant, who hasn’t appeared on British television in 25 years, will play disgraced British politician Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party in 1979 who was accused of conspiring to murder his ex-lover Norman Scott, Whishaw’s role. Thorpe became the first British politician in modern times to go to trial for murder.
Davies is adapting the book by British journalist John Preston, and the drama will be directed by Stephen Frears, director of The Queen and the upcoming Victoria & Abdul, which stars Dame Judi Dench and will premiere at Venice in a few weeks.
Most recently, the award-winning actor has been achieving a much higher profile in the States thanks to his role as Q in the last two James Bond movies, Skyfall and Spectre, but he was a lauded stage and television actors for years before being cast in the lead role in Thomas Tykwer’s adaptation of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer in 2006. He reteamed with the German filmmaker for three more movies — The International, the Cloud Atlas adaptation with the Wachowskis and Tom Hanks’ A Hologram for the King last year. Probably not as well known is that Whishaw provided the voice for Paddington in the hit family film from a few years back and the upcoming sequel.
As far as his previous BBC drama, Whishaw won an International Emmy for his role in 2008’s Criminal Justice and a BAFTA in 2013 for playing Richard III in the BBC’s The Hollow Crown. He received a third BAFTA nomination for the lead role in 2015’s London Spy and appeared on the BBC monologue series Queers, for Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss.
Sony’s Blueprint Television produces the show, which will be executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin from Blueprint along with the BBC’s Lucy Richer. Dan Winch will be producing the drama.
This casting news first appeared on Variety.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor