A Very British Scandal

It’s often unsettling for me to watch a gay-themed program marketed for the masses. I’m constantly waiting for the shoe to drop. A Very British Scandal created by the Brits and imported for America by Amazon doesn’t contain too many surprises for seasoned LGBT film and television viewers. Adapted from a book by John Preston and it should be noted this is John Preston the British film and television critic for the Telegraph and not John Preston, the American author who wrote gay erotica and died of AIDS in 1994, A Very British Scandal was adapted by Preston and Russell T. Davies (Queer as Folk) and directed by one of my favorites, Stepen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity, My Beautiful Laundrette). The pedigree alone for the adaptation made me want to watch. I waited a bit because the previews alluded to silly over substance. But I’m glad I finally did watch. The quality of acting from Hugh Grant and Ben Wishaw, Frears effortless directing and a story so absurd, it has to be based in truth make the 3-part mini-series a lot of fun to watch. Still that pesky concept of more straight sex scenes than gay sex scenes in a gay show makes me scratch my head – especially in 2018. Yes, I know both characters dabbled in heterosexual marriages, but it was clear from the writing that these were not bisexuals, but men hiding in or using the closet and women to their advantage. The writing clearly embraced the desperation most gay men felt living in a time period without support from the law and society. For that and more, I enjoyed A Very British Scandal. It is well-crafted, light enough to watch on a Friday night after a long week, and sports an amazing soundtrack. 3.5 out of 5.

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