Jeremy Thorpe

Hugh Grant is doing a great turn as Thorpe. Looking back on it, the whole tale was much more than ‘A very English Scandal’. It was high farce. This is from Frances Wheen’s review of Michael Bloch’s biography.

Did Thorpe mean to kill Scott or merely to give him a fright. Either way it's a preposterous yarn , expertly narrated by Bloch in which the best man from Thorpe's wedding consults a Welsh carpet merchant, who recruits a Swansea nightclub owner, who hires an airline pilot and part time hit man named Andrew 'Gino Newton, who shoots Scott's Great Dane, Rinka - as  a consequence  of which Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder and the late editor of the Literary Review, Auberon Waugh, stands for Parliament against him on behalf of the Dog Lovers' Party.

At which point you may scratch your ear and think: can any of this be true? It reads like a shaggy-dog story, fittingly enough, and credulity is stretched even further by some of Bloch's supporting cast: DCS Proven Sharpe, head of Devon and Cornwall. CID; his chief constable, Colonel Ranulph 'Streaky' Bacon; Norman Scott's most sympathetic landlady, Mrs Friendship; his kindly Jesuit mentor, Father Sweetman. And then there's  the handsome young Buckingham Palace footman who had an affair with Thorpe and wrote about it many years later in his memoir, Adventures of a Gentleman's Gentleman. His name? Guy Hunting.


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