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Claire Foy says Duchess of Argyll would have been ‘appalled’ to learn she is playing her

The Crown’s Claire Foy has revealed that she hopes viewers of BBC’s new series A Very British Scandal will come to ‘not like’ the Duchess of Argyll, Margaret Campbell.

The late socialite is remembered for ‘disgracing’ the establishment when her diaries and sexually explicit Polaroids were stolen by her husband, Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, to be used as evidence in their divorce hearing in 1963.

Foy, 37, who will play the ‘Dirty Duchess’ on the upcoming drama, told The Sun on Friday that she’s ‘not really in the market for making dramas about likeable people’, and said the Duchess would have ‘hated’ her and been ‘appalled’ at her casting.

Memorable Royal: The Duchess of Argyll, Margaret Campbell, is pictured in 1961

‘She would have hated me’: Claire Foy has branded the Duchess of Argyll, Margaret Campbell the ‘first victim of revenge porn’ and claims she would have been ‘appalled’ to learn she is playing her in new BBC series A Very British Scandal (pictured as the Duchess on the left, and the Duchess on the right in 1961)

Alongside Paul Bettany as the Duke, the series will cover their explosive divorce in the 1960s – with accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery and an explicit polaroid picture all played out.

Their bombshell divorce and 1963 court case revealed the Duchess to be a victim of revenge porn, with husband Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, sharing a photo of her naked with just pearls around her neck while in the company of another man. 

The Duke also claimed the Duchess had slept with up to 88 men during the course of their marriage, with her scandalous love life making front-page news across the globe.  

Foy told The Sun of her downfall in the public eye: ‘Fundamentally, when the chips are down and she’s being treated in the way that she’s being treated, she was belittled and shamed and put down.’

Casting: Foy, 37, told The Sun on Friday that she's 'not really in the market for making dramas about likeable people', and said the Duchess would have 'hated' her and been 'appalled' at her casting. Pictured with Paul Bettany who takes on the role of the Duke, Ian Campbell

Casting: Foy, 37, told The Sun on Friday that she’s ‘not really in the market for making dramas about likeable people’, and said the Duchess would have ‘hated’ her and been ‘appalled’ at her casting. Pictured with Paul Bettany who takes on the role of the Duke, Ian Campbell

The real deal: The late socialite is remembered for 'disgracing' the establishment when her diaries and sexually explicit Polaroids were stolen by her husband, Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, to be used as evidence in their divorce hearing in 1963 (pictured in 1951)

The real deal: The late socialite is remembered for ‘disgracing’ the establishment when her diaries and sexually explicit Polaroids were stolen by her husband, Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, to be used as evidence in their divorce hearing in 1963 (pictured in 1951)

With countless affairs, Foy suggested the Duchess had a ‘fear of being dull’ or ‘uninteresting’ and said she ‘hoped’ viewers would come to not like her. 

‘And I’m not really in the market for making dramas about people who are likeable. She would have hated me, she would have been appalled. I can just almost hear her, scathing, deeply, deeply disappointed that it’s me [playing her],’ Foy said.

‘I’m so low class and I’m so . . . look at her — that face,’ she added.

A Very British Scandal will explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain and look at attitudes towards women to ask whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time.

Glamorous: Foy is seen in an autumnal setting while sporting a classic red lip and finger-wave hairstyle, and wearing a black winter coat with thick fur trim along with a hat, gloves and tartan scarf, in scenes from the upcoming drama

Glamorous: Foy is seen in an autumnal setting while sporting a classic red lip and finger-wave hairstyle, and wearing a black winter coat with thick fur trim along with a hat, gloves and tartan scarf, in scenes from the upcoming drama 

High spirits: Another scene shows the decadent lifestyle of the character as the actress can be seen at a lavish event laughing while holding a coupe glass, wearing a sparkly evening dress

High spirits: Another scene shows the decadent lifestyle of the character as the actress can be seen at a lavish event laughing while holding a coupe glass, wearing a sparkly evening dress

As her contemporaries, the press, and the judiciary sought to vilify her, Margaret kept her head held high with bravery and resilience, refusing to go quietly as she was betrayed by her friends and publicly shamed by a society that revelled in her fall from grace. 

The show is made by the team behind the BBC’s A Very English Scandal, which starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw as politician Jeremy Thorpe and his lover Norman Scott. 

Foy previously played the young Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons of the Netflix series The Crown, which won her the Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series in 2018.

Authentic: Foy in action as the Duchess of Argyll...

... and the real life Duchess with her husband at a German embassy reception in London's Tate Gallery

Authentic: Foy is pictured in action as the Duchess of Argyll (L) and the real life Duchess with her husband at a German embassy reception in London’s Tate Gallery (R)

Success: The show is made by the team behind the BBC's A Very English Scandal, which starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw (both pictured) as politician Jeremy Thorpe and his lover Norman Scott

Success: The show is made by the team behind the BBC’s A Very English Scandal, which starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw (both pictured) as politician Jeremy Thorpe and his lover Norman Scott

She is joined by Bettany, who starred as Vision in WandaVision and Avengers: Infinity War, who plays her husband, the 11th Duke of Argyll, while Gavin & Stacey star Julia Davis portrays Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.

Also joining the cast are Amanda Drew, Richard McCabe, Phoebe Nicholls, Camilla Rutherford, Timothy Renouf, Sophia Myles, Sophie Ward and Tim Steed.

Katherine Manners, Richard Goulding, Jonathan Aris, Oliver Chris, Nicholas Rowe and Miles Jupp will also star.

The three-part series is written by Sarah Phelps, who previously wrote The Pale Horse, And Then There Were None and Dublin Murders, and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky.

The series will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK on Boxing Day at 9pm, and be available on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Old times: The Duke and Duchess of Argyll are pictured at Palace Theatre during happier times

Old times: The Duke and Duchess of Argyll are pictured at Palace Theatre during happier times 

The life of the Duchess of Argyll

December 1, 1912: Born Ethel Margaret Whigham to Scottish millionaire parents, and raised in New York

Age 15: Father made her have an abortion after falling pregnant following a holiday romance

Age 17: Announced her engagement to the 7th Earl of Warwick, Charles Greville

Age 20: Her romance with Greville was short-lived, marrying American golfer Charles Sweeny in West London. She suffered eight miscarriages and welcomed two children

Age 38: Wed Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll 

Age 50: Their bitter divorce played out in court. The Duke shared photo evidence of the Duchess naked with another man in her flat, and listed up to 88 men he believed she had slept with during their marriage 

Age 80: Died from a fall while living at a nursing home 

 

 

 

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