Anatomy of a Scandal: This is what the Libertines Club at Oxford University is in real life

The flashbacks in the show are very accurate


Netflix political thriller Anatomy of a Scandal tells the story of Britain’s political elite when a scandal threatens to bring everything crashing down. The show focuses around James and Sophie Waterhouse, with James being an MP who is accused of sexual assault and standing trial. In Anatomy of a Scandal, flashback scenes show James Waterhouse as being part of a debaucherous fraternity at Oxford University alongside the Prime Minister, which they call the Libertines Club.

Sophie dismisses the club as “men who like to have a good time” when her daughter asks about it and declares herself “a Libertine”. That’s probably because in the show when we see the men in the club drinking champagne, trashing venues and acting grossly towards women – that’s exactly what the real life club has become known for.

The Libertines club in Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix and the real life Bullingdon Club it is based on

via Netflix

Is the Libertines Club in Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix real?

In short, yes, the Libertines Club in Anatomy of a Scandal is based on a real group. You may have heard of the infamous Bullingdon Club before, and that’s exactly what the show is trying to hint at James and the Prime Minister being part of. The Libertines Club is a fictionalised version of the real male-only Oxford dining club and drinking society, which was founded at Oxford Uni in 1780, originally as a cricket and hunting club.

It was meant to represent exclusivity, wealth and nobility for its members, and they soon became known for out of control partying and a complete lack of respect – believing they could behave in any way they wanted to, because they could afford to foot the bill afterwards. According to the Guardian, by the 1980s, the Bullingdon Club was known for a “culture of excess,” which included “champagne-swilling, restaurant-trashing, ‘pleb’-taunting elitism.”

The Libertines club in Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix and the real life Bullingdon Club it is based on

via Netflix

If you want a good example of the what the group is like in real life, in 2014 The Tab covered the Bullingdon Club members as they “wore tails and drank champagne” at a screening of The Riot Club in what they called a “pikey cinema”. They wore their full uniform and stormed out the venue when they realised the Riot Club is a parody of themselves.

It’s also very accurate to have well known people and MPs as members of the group – the real life Bullingdon Club has ex-members including Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Edward Windsor. Members of the group tend to come from wealthy families and often go on to secure positions of power in society.

Anatomy of a Scandal is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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