A Very British Scandal writer on how Meghan Markle influenced drama ‘You’re fair game’

Emmys: Claire Foy accepts 'Best Lead Actress' award

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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 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 took on the role of her husband Ian Campbell.

Speaking to Express.co.uk and other press about the upcoming drama, BBC writer Sarah Phelps explained she thought about Meghan Markle a lot when creating the drama.

She went on to compare the Duchess of Argyll to the Duchess of Sussex and “how much the press hates her”.

She began: “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.”

Sarah continued: “If you put yourself out there, you are meat, and if you get bruised, so what? 

“That’s your job. Your job is to be ripped apart by us. And that’s who I thought a lot about when I was writing this.”

The writer went on to discuss the true reality of the drama, as she explained that Lady Margaret, “lost everything”.

She went on to add when she went to court, the law, “rinsed her and hung her out to dry”.

Sarah said: “The judgement rung her and hung her out to dry. 

“For four hours he [the judge] spoke for, 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’s the coolest thing. She lost. 

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

“I really admire her guts and I admire her guts in not going quietly,” Sarah added.

“In refusing to do what her gender, and what her class would have really required her to do.

“Which is, don’t say a word, don’t drag us through the gutter, don’t fool us, don’t shame us, don’t expose us and our practices and the way we live our lives behind closed doors.

“She just went, ‘Not a chance’ and did all of that.’”



Speaking about playing the role of Lady Margaret, Claire explained it was “very different” to her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown.

“I think because it’s a different time, isn’t it? That was what I found really interesting about trying to understand her as a person.

 “You look at photographs of her and she is not photogenic. 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 and 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.”

A Very British Scandal airs on Boxing Day at 9pm on BBC One.

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