Following tonight’s broadcast on BBC1 of the final episode of the docudrama relating to the Jeremy Thorpe scandal (A Very English Scandal), BBC4 will broadcast a previously suppressed Panorama episode relating to the trial. According to the BBC’s website:
In 1979, Panorama reporter Tom Mangold led an investigation into the trial of Jeremy Thorpe and others for the alleged conspiracy to kill Thorpe’s former lover, Norman Scott. Convinced that the former LiberalParty leader would be found guilty, a special post-trial programme was prepared. This was scrapped, however, when the jury returned its verdicts of not guilty for all defendants, and the programme has remained unseen for almost 40 years.
Edited and updated with new information about a fresh 2017 police inquiry into the case, Tom Mangold finally presents his story about how powerful political forces tried to protect Thorpe. The programme features revealing interviews from 1979 with Norman Scott, chief prosecution witness Peter Bessell and the alleged hitman Andrew ‘Gino’ Newton.
Mangold on yesterday’s news explained how he was ordered to destroy the tapes of the program after Thorpe’s acquittal, which he did but only after he had tranferred them to a CD. There are also reports that the police have reopened their investigation and are looking for the hitman who shot Rinka. Here’s a link to the program which will be available for streaming after broadcast. This special broadcast was scheduled too late to make many of the newspaper program listings.
There is, alas, no promise that Auberon Waugh was among those interviewed for the Panorama episode. This Radio Times story about the docudrama, however, suggests that if you watch carefully you may catch a glimpse of Auberon:
Auberon Waugh stands on a stage in North Devon as the 1979 general election results are read out for the Dog Lovers Party, and as Thorpe loses his seat in Parliament. This is a real blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in the TV drama, but there’s a great backstory. Having helped break the story about Rinka, Evelyn Waugh’s son stood for election in Thorpe’s constituency as representative of the Dog Lovers Party, printing up a manifesto: “Rinka is NOT forgotten. Rinka lives. Woof Woof, Vote Waugh, to give all dogs the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Thorpe’s legal team secured an injunction on the grounds that it might prejudice the trial. He won 79 votes anyway.
UPDATE: Reference to Radio Times story was added.