Viewers of A Very British Scandal have bemoaned the ‘depressing’ drama and ‘beastly’ characters – after the second episode depicted the steamy scenes in which the very explicit ‘headless man’ photograph was taken.

Last night’s episode featured Claire Foy as Margaret. She can be seen going into Margaret’s bathroom, where a naked man stands waiting.   

In the graphic scene, she performed a sexual act on a man in her Mayfair apartment while polaroid photographs are taken.

However despite the steaminess of the moment, many of those watching  slammed the TV drama as ‘depressing’, with one writing: ‘Trying to watch #AVeryBritishScandal but god, it’s a bit miserable innit? It’s not about what it is. 

Viewers of A Very British Scandal have bemoaned the 'depressing' drama and 'beastly' characters as the series depicted the infamous 'headless man' polaroid

A Very British Scandal viewers have lamented the show’s ‘depressing drama’ and ‘beastly characters. The series featured the famous ‘headless men’ polaroid. 

It’s almost as if the original series were deeper.  

Another said, “Just some spoilt poshos who are having a temper tantrum.” 

One third was added: ‘Enjoying @AVeryBritishScandal a production but god it’s depressing.  

Another wrote:  ‘AVeryBritishScandal is beautifully written and very well acted, but it’s almost impossible to connect emotionally with characters who are so utterly unlovable.  

Despite the steaminess of the scene, many of those watching slammed the TV drama as 'depressing'

Many viewers found the television drama depressing despite its steamy nature.

“I don’t really care about what happens to any of them.”

The drama’s last episode featured steamy scenes in which Foy’s Duchess took racy photos of the headless man.  

She wore black lingerie, and had a string pearls on her. As she was lowering herself to his waist, she gave him the camera. 

She opened the letter with the explicit images and the scene changed. 

Elsewhere in the episode, Paul Bettany's Duke of Argyll flew into a rage after Margaret refused to give him more money

In another episode, Paul Bettany’s Duke Of Argyll flew into a rage at Margaret refusing to give him any more money 

The episode also features Paul Bettany as the Duke, who is seen robbing Margaret of her desk while he finds the photos.

Janet, Ian’s ex-wife warned Margaret about his greed for her money and said he would abandon her once he spent everything.

She warned: ‘Ian took everything I had and then he left me for Oui Oui and took everything she had.

“And when money runs out (which it will), he’ll do exactly the same to me.”

When Ian later asked Margaret for money more, she refused. He flew into an angry rage at her and attempted to choke her.

Three-part documentary series that began Boxing Day tells Margaret’s real story. In the 1960s, Margaret was in the center of controversy after her scandalous divorce case exposed her adventurous sexual life. 

The moment the Duchess performed a sexual act on a man in her Mayfair apartment has been recreated in near-graphic detail in TV’s racy drama about her life

In TV’s dramatized version of her life, the moment when she sex on a man in Mayfair has been reconstructed in almost-graphic detail.

OMG: Wearing black lingerie and a string of pearls, she handed him the camera as she lowered herself down his body

OMG: Wearing black lingerie and a string of pearls, she handed him the camera as she lowered herself down his body

She dominated the front pages as her divorce from the Duke of Argyll (portrayed by Paul Bettany) played out – featuring accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drugtaking, secret recording, bribery and the pictures. 

The first episode of A Very British Scandal took viewers by surprise as they watched Foy perform three sex scenes in the first 30 minutes of the first episode  – with two different men. 

Last night’s first episode of the series featured Margaret (Foy), seducing an actor at a dinner party, before she romped with her husband in his Scottish home. 

The revelation comes just days following Foy’s comments about her dislike of sex scenes. She said they made her feel ‘exploited and were the most difficult thing she could do.  

Racy: Claire was seen stripping off in various scenes from the episode, donning black lingerie for one scene

Racy. Claire is seen in various scenes, wearing black lingerie and removing her clothes. 

The photo: In the following scene, the actress opened a letter containing the explicit images (pictured)

The photo: In the following scene, the actress opened a letter containing the explicit images (pictured) 

Just 16 minutes in to the episode’s first episode was Margaret’s first encounter with an unknown stranger at a dinner party.  

Although the identities of these men are not known to the public, the scenes that Margaret is seen with her female friend later suggest that Margaret would sleep regularly with those she had met in the evening.

26 minutes later, the second sex scene was shown. It shows Margaret arriving at Inveraray Castle in Scotland, the home of Ian Campbell, the Duke of Argyll.

16 MINUTES IN: The first episode of A Very British Scandal took viewers by surprise as they watched Claire enjoy three sex scenes in the first 30 minutes of the first episode - with two different men

16 minutes in: A Very British Scandal’s first episode took viewers completely by surprise. Claire had three scenes of sex with different men within the first thirty minutes.

The Duke and Louise Timpson were still married at the time they met for the first time. 

Who was this headless man, you ask? 

Never has been identified the ‘Headless Man,’ the male character in salacious photos of the duchess that were revealed in the divorce case. The society wanted to find his identity and the duke had to be naked in order to prove that the torso was not his.

Margaret (pictured) carried the secret of the 'headless man' identity to her grave

Margaret (pictured), carried the secret identity of the “headless man” to her grave

The list included Douglas Fairbanks Jr., a Hollywood actor and Sigismund von Braun, a German diplomat. However, Duncan Sandys was most notable among the suspects. He is also Winston Churchill’s father-in-law and Minister of Defence. 

A Channel 4 documentary in 2000 claimed that the ‘Headless Man’ was in fact two different men – Sandys and Fairbanks Jr – but it seems this may be one secret Margaret carried with her to her grave.

However, the Duke was not able to stop his guest from sharing a bed with him. He asked Margaret to marry him shortly after having sex. 

At 29 minutes and 29 seconds, Margaret meets Ian for the approval of her marriage.

After a brief but funny stop at a cleaner’s cupboard, the pair head upstairs to visit Margaret and her parents. 

After Foy revealed that filming sex scenes is something she dislikes and makes her feel uncomfortable, viewers could expect a lot of them in the series. 

Foy told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: ‘It’s a really hard line because basically you do feel exploited when you are a woman and you are having to perform fake sex on screen. It’s hard not to feel exploited.

It’s grim. It makes you feel vulnerable. You feel exposed. 

Many Twitter users expressed their discomfort at the sight of the three scenes.

User @strutcakes stated that watching A Very British Scandal with my parents wasn’t the best idea. The awkwardness of watching sex scenes with your parents in the same room as TV is not only for those who are 37 but also for anyone else. Thank you @PhelpsieSarah

Louise Teboul said something similar: “Watching a Very British Scandal, with my Mother-in-law. [other half]”I didn’t realize there would be so much sexual activity in this – it was very awkward.”

@tguest also said that he had forgotten how uncomfortable it was to watch sex scenes together with parents up until tonight’s A Very British Scandal. 

Michael Wave user @SzMarsupial joked, “Sending thoughts, prayers and thoughts to all other people who are now trapped into watching a very British scam with their families, without realising the amount of sex involved.” 

Margaret, born in 1912 as the sole child of an independent Scottish millionaire, was described by Lyndsy Spence, her biographer, as “a daddy’s daughter with an absent father and living with a jealous mom who tried to remind Margaret about every fault she had”. 

24 MINUTES IN: The second sex scene took place 26 minutes into the episode. It shows Margaret arriving at Inveraray Castle in Scotland, the home of Ian Campbell, the Duke of Argyll

24 MINUTES IN: The second sex scene took place 26 minutes into the episode. The episode begins with Margaret visiting Inveraray Castle in Scotland. This castle is the residence of Ian Campbell.

Margaret became a speech therapist for King George VI, Lionel Logue.

When she was 15 years old, David Niven (the future star of the movie) got her pregnant on holiday in the Isle of Wight. Her father then sent her secretly to London for an abortion. 

Her beauty as a young lady was well-known in society. She was invited to Mayfair by millionaires and princes, including actor Cary Grant, playwright Noel Coward and oil tycoon J Paul Getty. After four unsuccessful engagements, she married Charles Sweeny (an Irish-American stockbroker).

29 MINUTES: The third sex scene comes in at 29 minutes, shortly after the second, where the pair dash off into a cleaning cupboard before they meet Margaret's father for his approval of marriage


The couple’s 1933 wedding was glamorous. Traffic was stopped for 3 hours at the Brompton Oratory, west London. Another 2,000 people gathered at the Brompton Oratory to view the 28-foot train that Norman Hartnell’s wedding dress. 

After 14 years of being together and having Frances as a child and Brian as a husband and wife, Margaret declared that Charlie needed a partner who was “pretty dumbless” so they split in 1947.  

After meeting Ian Douglas Campbell in Paris’s Gare Du Nord station, she married him in 1951. He had pursued her tirelessly knowing that she was wealthy while his estate was nothing. 

She took pity on him and convinced her father to give him £100,000 to restore his family seat in Scotland, Inveraray Castle. He signed the Deed of Gift that included various goods as security and then promised to marry her once his own divorce was finalized.

After the union, the couple was able to live in luxury. Socialites and fashion designers gathered around the duchess.

However, the Duke soon revealed his true colours with accusations of addiction to drugs and gambling as well as an vile temper.  

Both the couple agreed to be married openly and separate lives. Bettany asked, “How many men are you married to?” Foy responds, “How many wives do you own?”

The duke was furious that his extravagant lifestyle wasn’t being supported by the duchess and hired private detectives in order to track his wife. He applied for divorce. 

A set of blurry Polaroid shots of the Duchess of Cambridge, taken from her Mayfair bathroom mirror. These pictures showed her in her classic triple-string of pearls. One picture shows her with an unidentified lover. His head has been removed from the image and he was later known as the “Headless Men”.

Her husband allegedly used a locksmith in order to access his wife’s papers. 

The prehistoric legal system of that day, and the fact that her “lovers” were often gay prevented her from sharing her story. She was not likely to be imprisoned.

A Very British Scandal focuses especially on the attitudes towards women at the time, as Margaret was vilified throughout the divorce battle for refusing to go quietly, despite being betrayed by friends and publicly shamed by society.   

He filed for divorce four years later, but a verdict did not come until then. It was granted on Margaret’s grounds. 

She was ordered to pay most of the £50,000 legal bill. His affairs and his subsequent marriage to Mathilda, an American woman of wealth, were not discussed. He was finally ordered to pay the majority of his legal bill. 

Margaret fell out of love with Frances after the case. Frances had never wanted Margaret to support the divorce. Her fortune was reduced due to Margaret’s extravagant lifestyle and poor investments. After losing her home, she was eventually reconciled to Frances. However, her children placed her in London’s nursing home, where she later died of starvation in 1993.  

The original photograph showed Margaret – wearing nothing but a string of pearls – involved in a sexual act with a ‘headless’ man in her home. 

He was not identified and the photo was taken at his neck. 

A documentary from 2000 however identified Sandys as Winston Churchill’s Cabinet minister, and his son-in law Duncan Sandys. 

At 9pm tonight, BBC1 will broadcast the final episode on A Very British Scandal. 

Signature pearls: Margaret's necklace, above, appeared in nude photos found by her husband

Signature pearls: Margarets necklace appears in nude photographs taken by her husband