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"A Very British Scandal" tells the story of the infamous Argyll vs Argyll divorce case between the current Duke's Grandfather, and his third wife Margaret. The three part BBC Drama aired on boxing day 2021, and was released on Amazon Prime in April 2022.
In the wake of her divorce, Margaret Sweeny (Claire Foy) meets Captain Ian Campbell (Paul Bettany), heir to the Duke of Argyll title, and future owner of the Inveraray Castle estate. The two fall in love and marry in 1951, after Ian ascends to the title of 11th Duke of Argyll following the 10th Duke's death. They then take up residence in Inveraray, after a successful restoration of the castle.
Both big socialites, Ian and Margaret prove to have a troublesome marriage. The imbalance of wealth between them, as well as Margaret realising the Duke's intentions of leaving Inveraray Castle to his heir rather than her, causes jealousy and a lack of trust. This escalates to accusations of adultery, forgery, theft and physical violence, which culminates in their highly publicised, and record-breakingly expensive, 1963 divorce case. This series uses the 11th Duke and Duchess of Argyll, and their divorce case, as lenses through which to examine the intricacies of post-war British society. It particularly sheds light on 1960s attitudes towards women, and their perceived societal role.
The filming of Inveraray Castle for the drama was mainly focused on its exteriors, whilst Ardkinglas House was used for the interior scenes.
Memorable shots of the castle include when Ian brings Margaret there for the first time, and it is visibly in need of repairs. Other moments include when he carries her across the threshold after their marriage, and a beautiful shot from the gardens after the castle has been restored.
The surrounding grounds as well as shots of the waters of Loch Fyne are also seen throughout the three episodes. Frew's bridge for example works as a poignant shot in the later episode, when Margaret is prevented from crossing it after Ian lawfully banishes her from the castle during divorce proceedings.
We are introduced to a vast range of characters whom are very relevant to the history of Inveraray, and are referenced throughout the castle in paintings and photographs to this day. Whilst Ian Campbell, the current Dukes grandfather, and Margaret, his step-grandmother, are an obvious pair, other people include:
-Niall Campbell, 10th Duke of Argyll
-Louise Clews (Ian Campbell's second wife), grandmother of the current Duke
-Ian Campbell Junior (future 12th Duke of Argyll) and Colin Campbell, the current Duke's father and uncle when they were young boys