Bridget Jones’ Diary favourite Mark Darcy is one of those characters that can easily fit the mould of many famous men – he’s dashingly handsome, intelligent and fawned after by women everywhere – but apparently, Sir Keir Starmer isn’t one of them.
Theories have long floated around that the Labour Party leader was the muse for Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding who created the famous character in her series of best-selling novels.
After all, she went to university with Sir Keir and there are significant parallels between the politician and the character. Both are upper class while Sir Keir was a barrister and former director of public prosecutions and Darcy, a human rights lawyer.
But Helen reduces it all to just a theory – which isn’t true.
Speaking on Desert Island Discs this weekend, the author said: ‘I had several different boyfriends, all very gorgeous.
‘It’s amazing the number of people that lay claim to be Daniel [Hugh Grant’s character] or Mark, including Keir Starmer.’
However, Sir Keir has never claimed to be the inspiration behind Darcey although he did address the long-running rumours earlier this year.
In an interview with ITV News, the Labour leader said: ‘Everybody asks me this question when they should be asking her [Fielding] because she knows the answer and I don’t.
‘It’s a rumour that’s been doing the rounds for years, but I honestly don’t know the answer… Of course I would (be flattered). But I honestly don’t know.’
Well, it was nice to dream.
Helen published the first Bridget Jones book in 1996 and it was given a glossy Hollywood adaptation with Renee Zellweger taking on the role of the titular character in the first installment, Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) and the following sequels Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (2004) and Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016).
The rom-com focused on Bridget, a thirty-something woman who starts writing a diary about improving her life and her quest to find love. She then ends up in a love triangle with Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth, and Daniel Cleaver, played by Hugh Grant.
Memorable moments in the film include Bridget turning up to a garden party in a sexy Playboy bunny outfit and accidentally flashing her knickers on national TV.
Helen admits that the sexism in the film makes for a difficult watch these days, explaining: ‘I took my kids to see a screening of the movie. I hadn’t seen it for years and years, and I was staggered. You couldn’t write that now.
‘The level of sexism that Bridget was dealing with, the hand on the bum in so many of the scenes. Richard Finch [Bridget’s boss] … “Let’s have a shot of the boobs”. In the end she turned around and stuck it to them. But it was just part and parcel of her life and it was quite shocking for me to see how things have changed since then.’
Helen added: ‘It wouldn’t have been possible to write it in that way now. Things have changed, happily.’
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