top of page

A Very British Sex Scandal | Preview (Channel 5)

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury was one of Britain’s wealthiest men, scion of an historic family whose assets included grand properties in the UK and France, a 9000-acre estate and works of art worth tens of millions of pounds.

He split his time between the ancestral family home in Dorset and the French Riviera where he enjoyed a hedonistic lifestyle, all funded by his multi-million-pound inheritance.

When the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury mysteriously disappears in 2004, there is much speculation around his disappearance, from his family and friends and the media…

This programme tells the story of the life and untimely death of Lord Shaftesbury – whose decomposed body is found dumped in a ravine at the foothills of the Alps several months after his disappearance.

For the first time ever, we hear directly from the woman convicted and jailed for aiding and abetting the Earl’s murder, his estranged wife, Jamila M’Barek. Jamila confessed to police that her brother Mohammed M’Barek had killed the Earl in a crime of passion but however denied it was pre-meditated murder.

This feature-length documentary unravels the bizarre stories surrounding this high-profile murder, featuring interviews with Jamila’s lawyers, detectives that worked the case, reporters that covered the story, details of police recordings of Jamila’s phone calls, and archive footage.

In the second episode, Edwina Currie, Matthew Parris and Ian Hislop lead a cast of politicians and journalists sharing personal memories of Cecil Parkinson and the scandal that ended his political ambitions – it’s a story of power, politics and personal consequences.

On the eve of the 1983 General Election, millionaire politician Cecil Parkinson had it all. He was charming, popular and handsome - Margaret Thatcher’s suave lieutenant. Under Parkinson’s Chairmanship, the Conservative party was heading towards another electoral success, and Cecil was tipped to take up a cabinet top job.

But in Fleet Street, rumours were rife that Cecil had a secret lover, his secretary Sara Keays, who was now pregnant. Their 12-year affair would be revealed in a sensational media storm that overshadowed the 1983 Conservative Party Conference and forced Parkinson to resign in disgrace. He was consigned to the political wilderness with no prospect of return, while his former mistress Sara was pursued by the media.

Thatcher never gave up on her golden boy and four years later, Parkinson’s political career was resurrected. But behind the smooth façade, he spent decades locked in a legal battle with his former mistress, trying to stop any public mention of their daughter, the child he had never met.

A Very British Sex Scandal begins Wednesday 24th April on Channel 5.


bottom of page