With the recent success of Bridgerton, Netflix's uncharacteristically raunchy period drama, it's clear that critics and audiences alike love a bit of historical debauchery, scandal, and drama. Set in eighteenth-century England, the series charts the intertwined lives (and deaths) of various monarchs, duchesses, and aristocrats as they navigate marriages, debts, and rivalries.
While the historical accuracy of the show is up for debate, the overriding consensus is that it's endlessly entertaining, filled to the brim with juicy subplots, ridiculous characters, and ostentatious costumes.
Bridgerton clearly follows in the footsteps of other popular (and equally salacious) period dramas such as Dangerous Liaisons and The Favourite. However, while these films are either entirely fictional or based on fictionalized accounts of real history, we think that fact is often stranger (and far better TV) than fiction.
In fact, there are plenty more historical scandals which we would love to see on the big screen. From bribery to adultery, and from murder to piracy, here are eight historical scandals which need to be made into films.
8. John Stonehouse: British Politician (Unsuccessfully) Fakes His Suicide
John Stonehouse was a British politician for the UK Labour and Co-Operative Party, working as an MP and junior minister throughout the 1950s and 1960s. However, in the late 1970s, it was revealed that Stonehouse had actually been working as a Czech spy during his time in British politics, selling governmental secrets, plans, and information.
While undoubtedly shocking and scandalous, the most interesting part of Stonehouse's life was his attempt to fake his own death/suicide in 1974. Arriving at a beach in Miami, Stonehouse undressed, left his clothes on the shore, and ostensibly disappeared into the choppy waters.
Multiple theories soon cropped up: was the former politician killed by a shark? Did he simply drown at sea? Or did Stonehouse deliberately set out to die in the waters that day?
The truth, however, was (somehow) far more intriguing: Stonehouse had faked his death and set off to Australia to live with his mistress (and former secretary), Sheila Buckley. Utilising a series of forged documents and fake identities, Stonehouse managed to evade capture until he was ultimately found in Australia.
Eventually, Stonehouse was arrested and spent five years in prison. This bewildering tale of adultery, forgery, and espionage would make for one gripping film!