Profumo’s wife comes to the fore as BBC give 1960s sex scandal a ‘MeToo’ twist and vow to tell the story through a ‘female gaze’
- The Trial of Christine Keeler to be shown during BBC One’s Christmas schedule
- Dramatised version of affair between John Profumo and Christine Keeler
- The cast described the adaptation as being fit for the ‘TimesUp’ movements
A scandal which took the British political elite by storm is set to be given a ‘MeToo’ twist as the BBC retells the story through a ‘female gaze’.
The Profumo scandal originated in 1961 from a brief affair between John Profumo and would-be model Christine Keeler.
Directed by an all-female team, The Trial of Christine Keeler will give voice to the character of the 19-year-old, as well as to that of wife Valerie Hobson, exploring how she supported her husband through the scandal.
The cast has described the adaptation as being fit for the ‘TimesUp and MeToo movements’, giving the female leads their ‘own voice’.
One of the first episodes of the show will portray the moment John Profumo first met Christine Keeler. Sophie Cookson plays Keeler (centre) and Emilia Fox plays Hobson (left)
Hobson (left) was thought to have known that her husband (right) was having an affair
christine Keeler, key figure in the Profumo Scandal which rocked the government, wearing a swimsuit as she relaxes on a sun lounger, 1963
Emilia Fox plays Hobson, who at the start of the marriage to her husband, was in many respects more famous than him.
She had previously held roles in shows such as The King and I and stuck by her husband after he confessed to the affair with Keeler, which contributed to the fall of Harold Macmillan’s government in 1963.
Hobson appears in every episode of the series and a source told the Telegraph that you ‘really see the measure of the woman’ in the dramatisation.
The significant role will show Hobson ‘hadn’t been stupid’, she knew her husband was having affairs but still stayed with him.
Society osteopath Stephen Ward (pictured above) also features in the show, he was an integral part of the scandal, he is played by James Norton
Valerie Hobson, the former film star, with her husband the former British War Minister John Profumo in May 1959
Emilia Fox (pictured above) plays Hobson who will be portrayed to have an ‘affinity’ for Keller
Hobson will also be portrayed to have an ‘affinity’ for Keller and the source added that ‘she saw she was a young woman and felt she was vilified by the press’.
Early episodes of the show will show the first meeting between Keeler, who is played by Sophie Cookson and Profumo, played by Ben Miles.
He first noticed her as she emerges naked from a pool at Cliveden, where Hobson had also been in attendance, supposedly calling for the teenager to have been given a towel.
Sophie Cookson and Christine Keeler (1942-2017). The Kingsman actress is to play the model in a new drama about the Profumo affair for BBC One
The scandal cost Profumo his political career. He is pictured above with his wife
Cookson said the drama will show a ‘vivid and complex woman, who has previously, it seems, been reduced and misunderstood’.
After the first meeting Keeler and Profumo went on to have an affair, while she also had a relationship with Soviet agent Yevgeny Ivanov.
This is while osteopath Stephen Ward also features in the show, he was an integral part of the scandal, he is played by James Norton.
He previous stated: ‘It’s imperative we go and look back at these moments in history in light of the recalibration with the TimesUp and MeToo movements’.
Producer Rebecca Ferguson said she was determined to secure a female director. ‘I wanted [Andrea Harkin] from the get-go,’ she explains.
‘It’s not that men can’t direct women, but there is a definite distinction between the male and female gaze. Andrea has brought an intimacy and poetry to this’, she told Television Business International.
The show is set to be part of the BBC One Christmas schedule which will also showcase a Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special.