A Very English Scandal’s very English filming locations
Based on the true story of the Thorpe affair that shocked the nation in the 1970s, A Very English Scandal is a bleakly comic snapshot of the time.
Jeremy Thorpe, the seemingly happily married leader of the Liberal Party, begins an affair with a free-spirited male stable hand. When his lover threatens to expose their encounters, Thorpe plans to be rid of him for good. As a political drama, you can expect iconic London locations, as well as some rural idyll.
Read on to find out where A Very English Scandal was filmed, and take a look at our TV Map of Britain to find your favourite TV show hotspots.
Filming a show about a political scandal has to include at least one scene set at the Palace of Westminster. The real Houses of Parliament were used for external shots, but not for internal scenes. The Palace of Westminster comprises the House of Lords and House of Commons, the Elizabeth Tower, better known as Big Ben from the name of its bell, and various flats and offices.
Interior shots of the Houses of Parliament, including the inner courts and hallways, were actually filmed in Manchester Town Hall. This has similar Gothic revival architecture to the palace, so it has stood in for the London location in many films and TV shows.
The sprawling country estate of Bulstrode Park was used for internal and external scenes. A set for Thorpe’s office was built inside. The vast grounds represented Exmoor for a scene with an assassination attempt.
Some of A Very English Scandal’s most dramatic scenes take place in the courtroom. While the infamous Court One of the Old Bailey, where the trial took place, wasn’t used for filming, the exterior and lobby of this imposing Edwardian building appeared in the mini-series.
The landlady of the Market Inn pub in Barnstaple employed Thorpe’s lover, Norman Scott, in the mid-1970s as a barman. Since this pub closed in the 1990s, the 18th-century Salisbury Arms Hotel in Hertford was chosen instead. The series has a few scenes set in Barnstaple that were filmed around the historic market town of Hertford.
For a scene that was set on a beach in California, the crew only had to travel as far as Saunton in Devon to find the perfect stretch of sand. While we may not have the Californian sunshine, the vast Saunton Sands has plenty of natural beauty. You may even spot a surfer or two. Look out for the beach in scenes where politician Peter Bessell is living in a beachside shack.