Natalie Dormer and ‘The Scandalous Lady W’

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer will star in a BBC2 factual drama on August 20th, re-telling the tale of the Isle of Wight’s “scandalous” Lady in Red.

Natalie Dormer will star as Lady Seymour Worsley who, aged 17, married Sir Richard Worsley the 7th Baronet of Appuldurcombe House on the Isle of Wight, on September 20th 1775.

Badly suited to one another, the couple’s marriage began to fall apart shortly after it began.  Lady Worsley was rumoured to have had 27 lovers, one of whom was Captain George Bissett – Sir Richard’s best friend.

The BBC TV drama – titled The Scandalous Lady W – will recount the 18th century scandal on the Isle of Wight, which shocked the British upper classes.  Natalie Dormer (Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, The Tudors) leads a cast of British actors in the gripping 18th century factual drama produced by Wall to Wall Media and directed by Sheree Folkson for BBC Two.  The untold true story of Lady Worsley is brought to life by award-winning writer David Eldridge.

Eldridge based his screenplay on author Hallie Rubenhold’s book Lady Worsley’s Whim.  The book is inspired by the full length oil painting of Lady Worsley that hangs in Harewood House in Yorkshire.  She is depicted wearing a bright red riding habit.

Dormer plays Seymour Worsley, a passionate, courageous woman at the centre of a very public trial brought by her powerful husband Sir Richard Worsley, played by Shaun Evans (Endeavour, The Lost Weekend).  The one-off ninety-minute factual drama is currently scheduled to appear on BBC2 on August 20th.

Located near to Wroxall on the Isle of Wight, Appuldurcombe House today is the shell of a large 18th-century baroque country house cared for by English Heritage.  It stands in Capability Brown designed grounds, where there is also an Owl & Falconry.

Sir Richard Worsley became the seventh baronet in 1768 and took up residence at Appuldurcombe in 1772.  He represented the peak of the Worsleys wealth and influence, becoming a privy councillor and “comptroller of George III’s household”.  By 1782, he had completed the rebuilding of Appuldurcombe in the Palladian style. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, meanwhile, was hired to redesign a huge ornamental park around the house.

The ‘new’ Appuldurcombe was a wonder to behold: a gem of Georgian architecture situated in landscaped grounds set in beautiful countryside.  However, Richard was disastrously unsuccessful in his marriage to the heiress Seymour Dorothy Fleming, which lasted from 1775 to1782.  The proceedings of their scandalous divorce case ruined his public reputation and the failure of the marriage doomed the Worsley dynasty.

Tourist information about the Isle of Wight, meanwhile, can be found at