WHEN Jeremy Thorpe went on trial for conspiracy to murder Norman Scott, the presiding judge demonstrated an unusual take on impartiality.
Justice Cantley called Scott – played by Ben Whishaw, below – “an accomplished sponger...spineless, neurotic, a crook, a fraud, a whiner, a parasite...” And these, M’lud failed to add, were his good points.
If anything Cantley’s summing up was even more biased in real life than it was on A Very English Scandal.
Peter Cook’s brilliant parody is still on YouTube with the conclusion: “You are now to retire, carefully to consider your verdict of not guilty.”
The biggest scandal wasn’t the murder plot but the establishment cover-up – detailed in Tom Mangold’s BBC4 investigation.
Cops sat on evidence, other murder bids were hushed up, witness statements were altered... and Thorpe blamed the press for his demise, as wrong ’uns always do.
THE trial was shocking but the gags were good. After Scott said he’d “bit the pillow” when Thorpe sodomised him, Bernard Manning joked: “If it had been Cyril Smith he’d have swallowed the f***ing mattress.”
Bob Monkhouse dubbed Norman “Scott of the arse antics”.
IT’LL be a while before BBC One gets round to Mandelson and the Hinduja brothers or Campbell’s dodgy dossier. Given their jokey take on Thorpe, maybe they’re working on David Kelly the Musical. COMEDY was king at the BGT final. Will ITV take the hint and invest in more mainstream humour: sitcoms, sketch shows and Audience Withs for stand-ups? What do you think? LOST Voice Guy: “I used to be in a disabled Steps tribute act. We were called Ramps.” ROBERT White: “I come from a musical home. I live in A flat.”