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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

A Very British Scandal

Available in the U.K. on BBC One beginning December 26 / Available in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video in 2022 / Film & TV

A new three-part TV series—starring Claire Foy and Paul Bettany—revisits the story of Margaret Campbell, the Duchess of Argyll, which dominated British newspapers in the 1960s after Campbell’s vindictive ex-husband leaked compromising personal artifacts and claimed she had slept with 80 men during their marriage, including three members of the royal family. Once renowned for her beauty and charm, from then on Margaret was haunted by the moniker “Dirty Duchess” as well as the court’s lengthy summation, in which she was dubbed “a completely promiscuous woman.” Meanwhile, the Duke of Argyll was celebrated. Written by Sarah Phelps, who worked on the BBC shows The Dublin Murders and The Pale Horse, the series seeks to reframe the narrative and redress the glaring misogyny present at the time of the saga’s original reporting. —Bridget Arsenault

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