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A Very English Scandal to return with story of first woman to be ‘slut-shamed’

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Sarah Shaffi
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Margaret Campbell, formerly Sweeny, née Whigham (1912 - 1993), now Duchess of Argyll, and Ian Douglas Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll (1903 - 1973), after their wedding at Caxton Hall in London, 23rd March 1951. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A Very English Scandal will return to the Sixties in its second season.

A Very English Scandal is to be turned into an anthology series in the style of American Crime Story, with the next season focusing on the Duchess of Argyll, who was described by the judge in her divorce case as a “completely promiscuous woman”.

The show’s first season starred Hugh Grant as MP Jeremy Scott, who was leader of the Liberal party in the late Sixties. He was tried and acquitted on charges of conspiracy and incitement to murder, arising from a relationship with former model Norman Scott, played by Ben Whishaw.

Margaret Campbell, formerly Sweeny, née Whigham (1912 - 1993), now Duchess of Argyll, and Ian Douglas Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll (1903 - 1973), after their wedding at Caxton Hall in London, 23rd March 1951. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Argyll after their wedding at Caxton Hall in London on 23rd March 1951. Image: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The second season of the programme will be set earlier in the same decade, and will tell the story of the high-profile divorce of the Duchess of Argyll, who died in 1993.

Speaking to Radio Times, executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins described the Duchess of Argyll as the “first woman to be publicly slut-shamed”.

Her second husband, Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, sued her for divorce. She was his third wife.

Among the evidence presented at the 11-day court case was a diary in which the Duchess named the men she had slept with, and a photograph of her naked save for three strings of pearls, engaged in a sex act with a man whose face could not be seen; the identity of the man has never been confirmed.

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A court judgement castigated the Duchess, with the judge who tried the case, Lord Wheatley, describing her as a “completely promiscuous woman whose sexual appetite could only be satisfied with a number of men… Her attitude towards marriage was what moderns would call enlightened, but which in plain language was wholly immoral”.

The first season of A Very English Scandal was scripted by Russell T Davies, but Treadwell-Collins said that “for a feminist scandal, I need a female writer”.

Although there is currently no script, three actresses have already asked to play the role, according to Treadwell-Collins, who described it as an “amazing part” for an actress in her late 40s or early 50s.

Image: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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