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Where Was A Very British Scandal Filmed?

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Created by Sarah Phelps, ‘A Very British Scandal’ is a historical drama series of immense fascination. This masterful handling of history comes from the same production house that delivered us ‘A Very English Scandal.’ The series chronicles the tumultuous marriage of Margaret Campbell and Ian Campbell, popularly known as Duke and Duchess of Argyll. From the inception of their romance, the series leads us to the notorious 1963 Argyll versus Argyll divorce case that becomes the talk of the town. Behind its incredible production value, it reflects upon themes like adultery, violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, forgery, and the woman question.

Following the premiere of the limited series on the original network BBC One, it garnered much praise from critics and the audience for its commendable and neutral handling of a sensitive topic in the popular imagination and its concerns with the social and political climate of the 1960s Scotland. You may have an idea of how difficult it is to create an authentic timepiece, making one wonder how the cast and crew envisioned such a contagious ambiance. If the thought is bugging you, let us go to the bottom of the matter.

A Very British Scandal Filming Locations

‘A Very British Scandal’ was filmed in locations in and around the UK, especially in Scotland and London. Since the show is steeped in the history of Britain, the cast and crew had to film the bulk of the series in real locations to maintain authenticity. Si Bell, known for his work on ‘Peaky Blinders‘ and ‘Pennyworth,’ came on board as the cinematographer. On the other hand, Christina Moore, who was in the art department of ‘Game of Thrones,’ handled the production design.

Thanks to its impeccable maintenance of historical heritage, and an equally fascinating historical lineage, the UK is one of the prime locations to set movies and television shows. As this series deals with a chapter ingrained in British history, the production team naturally wanted to take the viewers to the actual locations. They filmed scenes in several iconic heritage buildings and some lesser-known ones in the process. Let us now take you to the specific areas where the series was filmed!

Argyll and Bute, Scotland

The story is about the Duke of Argyll, and how can it be that the production crew would leave the abode of the duke? We can vouch that the exteriors of the Inveraray Castle showcased in the series is quite realistic because the crew actually filmed the exterior scenes outside the iconic castle. Situated at Inveraray, the county seat of Argyll, on the shore of Loch Fyne, the country house flaunts one of the earliest instances of Gothic Revival architecture. If you manage to visit the town between March and October, you can have a look at the enticing slice of Scottish history yourself.

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You can spend a lazy afternoon in the vast gardens or may have a peek inside the castle. This castle is the same site that stands for Duneagle Castle, the Crawley family’s holiday retreat in ‘Downton Abbey.’ However, for the interior scenes and the gardens, the production team got hold of Ardkinglas House, a Category A listed heritage building in Argyll. The building lies on the eastern part of Loch Fyne, near the village of Cairndow, in the same Argyll and Bute council area.

Glen Etive, Scotland

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Ian drives Margaret to his ancestral home early in the series through lush and spectacular scenery. Those scenes were lensed in and around Glen Etive, a major glen (narrow valley) and wildlife conservation area in Scotland. Part of the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, Glen Etive roughly begins at the Kings House and stretches till the 30km long Loch Etive. Due to the abundance of nature and Moorish geography, the Glen is a popular filming destination, as depicted in blockbusters like ‘Braveheart‘ and ‘Skyfall.’

Edinburgh, Scotland

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As the series seamlessly mingles two timelines of events, we see Margaret arrive at court for the divorce trial in the very opening sequence. The scene was also filmed in the actual location. The iconic Court of Session in Edinburgh’s Parliament House allowed the team to film the exterior scenes on site. Located in Parliament Square at a stone’s throw from St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Court of Session is a lasting part of Scotland’s legal history.

London, England

The crew also filmed several scenes in and around the Big Smoke. Ealing Town Hall, a Grade II listed municipal building in New Broadway in the Ealing neighborhood of London, stands in for the interior scenes of Edinburgh Court. The building also appeared in the Netflix movie ‘The Dig.’ The solicitor’s office, where Margaret signs her divorce papers, is located at 6 Fitzroy Square in London’s Fitzrovia. The archaic sandstone townhouses add an antique charm to the unique London square.

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A few scenes also feature the Rivoli Ballroom, a nightclub situated at 350 Brockley Road. Located within the London Borough of Lewisham, the ballroom has the fame to be the only extant 1950s ballroom in the country. It flaunts enticing art deco architecture, and the interior fittings and decors reflect an authentic 50s nostalgia. In another memorable scene, Margaret introduces her parents to the Duke of Argyll. The scene was filmed at Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, an opulent 5-star hotel located in Piccadilly Square in the heart of London.

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Several other touristy places also figure in the series, including Palm Court Brasserie, a famous city diner located at 39 King Street in London. The location for the gentlemen’s club, White’s, is Goldsmiths’ Hall, a Grade I listed building at the crossing of Foster Lane and Gresham Street. While the Goldsmiths’ Hall was not the original home of the White’s, the 11th Duke of Argyll was indeed a member of the club. The London home sequences of Ian and Margaret were filmed outside the Mayfair townhouse at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street.

The Grade II listed construct was the actual residence of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in the 60s. The Duke of Argyll meets his future wife in The Night Ferry, a boat train that would depart from London’s Victoria station, reaching Paris’ Gare du Nord in 11 hours. However, if you are thinking of hopping on the train, you would be disheartened to know that the ride ceased to operate in 1980. Therefore, the scenes were constructed elsewhere. Moreover, some scenes were filmed on a site on the outskirts of west London.

Kent, England

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The cast and crew also went to Kent County to film some scenes. The Golden Arrow train ride takes place in the historic Tenterden Town station. As an integral part of the Kent and East Sussex Railway, tourists still frequented the station. You may even catch a ride on the Bluebell Railway, a famous heritage railway that operates a revival of the original train network, complete with authentic Pullman Cars.

Buckinghamshire, England

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For Maureen’s house, the filming unit visited the iconic West Wycombe Park, which has become familiar to the global populace for its numerous appearances in films and television shows. Constructed between 1740 and 1800 near the village of West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, the country estate flaunts decadent Neoclassical architecture. From ‘The Crown‘ to ‘X-Men: First Class,’ a diverse range of productions have visited the location from time to time.

Bedfordshire, England

The crew further visited the county of Bedfordshire to film scenes at the Luton Hoo Hotel, a five-star tourist accommodation at The Mansion House in the village of Luton. The Claridge’s scenes were filmed in the iconic hotel, another popular filming destination in the country. From ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ to ‘Enola Holmes,’ the estate has handled remarkable productions.

Read More: Is Anatomy of a Scandal Sequel to A Very English Scandal and A Very British Scandal?

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Movie Reviews

Where is Keith Laborde Now?

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Vincent Simmons was just 25 when he was sentenced to 100 years in prison after being accused of violently raping Karen and Sharon Sanders — a set of 14-year-old twins — a crime he maintains he never committed. However, as explored in ’48 Hours: Please Don’t Tell,’ Karen and Sharon Sanders insist he’s guilty despite recently agreeing to drop the charges against him and the supposed odd involvement of Keith Laborde. So now, if you wish to find out more about the latter, especially the details of his relationship with the sisters as well as his possible current whereabouts, here’s all that we know.

Who is Keith Laborde?

At the time of the alleged incident on the evening of May 9, 1977, an 18-year-old reported Marine Corps officer Keith Laborde was with Karen and Sharon Sanders, who are his first cousins. He was driving them back home from his place when he picked up a hitchhiker from 7-11, as per their accounts, only for it to end up with him forced into the trunk of his vehicle at knifepoint. Like the girls, once they went to the authorities with this ordeal two weeks later, Keith insisted their assailant was a Black man, whom they all individually later identified as Vincent Simmons from a lineup.

With that said, though, one of their other cousins has since claimed that the trio lied at every step of the way, which is something Keith personally told her at a bar long after Vincent’s conviction. “He told me that he had consensual sex with one of the girls and locked the other in the trunk,” Dana Brouillette stated in a sworn affidavit. She later explained, “He had gone down Little California Road, and he locked Sharon in the trunk, and he said the sex between him and Karen was consensual. He said, but the other one was a little hellcat… [She] put the scratches on his neck.”

Dana actually believes Keith, Karen, and Sharon concocted the story of a Black man attacking them to justify the noticeable scratches, along with the state of their overall appearance that night. But Karen clarified the entire situation in an interview with CBS by stating that although she did engage in consensual sex with Keith, it was way before the summer of 1977. She was reportedly just a child back then, whereas he was a teenager, and they “experimented. But that has nothing to do with what Vincent did. That’s two separate incidents. That’s two separate things,” she said.

Where is Keith Laborde Now?

Despite the (seemingly unsupported) accusations against him, Keith Laborde has outrightly denied ever having sex with Karen, according to ’48 Hours.’ He told the production that they only “played around like children,” nothing less and nothing more, but yes, every part of it was consensual. Coming to his current standing, in his 60s, it appears as if the Louisiana native prefers to keep well away from the limelight these days because he purportedly has a family of his own.

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Keith wholeheartedly maintains that Vincent is guilty, which is why when CNN approached him for an interview in 2020, he reportedly let his anger out in the form of profanities, threats, and racial slurs directed toward him. Keith concluded with, “This sh*t happened. It’s real. It happened. And I’m not dealing with this no more I’m not looking over my shoulder anymore… I had enough of this sh*t.”

Read More: Where is Vincent Simmons Now?

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Movie Reviews

Is Ben Is Back Based on a True Story?

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‘Ben Is Back’ is a 2018 drama film written and directed by Peter Hedges. It follows Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), an athlete recovering from drug addiction, as he faces several internal and external conflicts. His mother, Holly Burns (Julia Roberts), provides unconditional support to her son while overcoming her own tribulations. The heartfelt film deals with the complex theme of drug addiction simplistically and realistically. Therefore, viewers must be wondering whether the film is inspired by real events or true stories. If you are looking for answers about the inspiration behind ‘Ben Is Back,’ here is everything you need to know!

Is Ben Is Back Based on a True Story?

‘Ben Is Back’ is not based on a true story. The film tells a fictional story written by Peter Hedges. However, Hedges’ screenplay is loosely inspired by his personal experiences with addicts. In several interviews, Hedges has opened up about the conceptualization of the film. The writer/director revealed that the film’s story and the subject are very personal to him. Hedges grew up in an alcoholic household, and his mother was an active alcoholic when he was seven years old. As a result, Hedges strived to make a realistic and relatable film about the horrors of addiction.

In a 2018 interview, Hedges explained that in the early 2010s, he was suffering from writer’s block. Around the same time, a close friend of Hedges passed away due to a heroin overdose. Shortly, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom Hedges deeply admired, died in 2014 because of a drug overdose. As a result, Hedges became obsessed with the subject of addiction and threw himself into research about opioid addiction. However, he still could not translate his vast research onto the page.

To deal with his block, Hedges signed for a playwriting workshop in February 2017. During the workshop, Hedges wrote the first ten pages of ‘Ben Is Back’ and eventually completed the script. He presented the script to producer Nina Jacobson who was personally aware of the effects of opioid addiction due to the death of her son’s best friend. As a result, she decided to produce the film resulting in the production of ‘Ben Is Back.’

In an interview with THR, Hedges said that he crafted the Burns family’s dynamics based on his personal experiences. “In my own life, what became interesting was just that I grew up in a family where I had to lie a lot. We all lied. We pretended that we were better off and happier than we were. So all of those dynamics and energy in play, I was able to access in writing this. I just know it. I know it so well,” Hedges said.

The ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape‘ scribe also stated that during his research, he came across several instances where recovering addicts would slip back into addiction after being sober for some time. “They slip, and it made you wonder why, why is that happening. Sometimes they got clean, and they were prescribed a pain pill, and that pain pill brought them back in,” he said.

Subsequently, Hedges learned more about the role of prescribed pain medication in triggering the opioid epidemic in America and made it a crucial plot thread of his story. Ben’s struggles with addiction are presented through a story of love between a mother and son. Thus, the narrative becomes emotionally compelling and allows the audience to empathize with the tribulations of its main characters.

Ultimately, ‘Ben Is Back’ is heavily influenced by the personal experiences of Hedges and his research about real people with substance abuse disorder. However, the story itself is a work of fiction and is not a direct adaptation of any real incidents. It is rooted in the dynamics of an average American family and how drug addiction affects their lives. It is an impactful and honest representation of drug addiction’s vast and harmful emotional, psychological, and physical effects.

Read More: Where Was Ben Is Back Filmed?

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