James Norton and Emilia Fox to star in Profumo Affair drama The Trial of Christine Keeler

The BBC has announced an all-star cast including Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Emilia Fox and Ben Miles

Keeler

Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Emilia Fox and Ben Miles will lead the high-profile cast of upcoming BBC1 drama The Trial of Christine Keeler, based on the notorious Profumo Affair.

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Cookson, best known for her role as secret agent Roxy Morton in the Kingsman movies, will star as Keeler, a 19-year-old model who had a brief sexual affair in 1961 with Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s War Secretary, John Profumo.

The affair sparked a political crisis in 1963 which severely damaged the government and had huge personal repercussions for everyone involved. The six-part drama is the work of Bafta-winning novelist and screenwriter Amanda Coe.

The Crown actor Miles is set to play Profumo himself, while Silent Witness star Fox joins the cast as his wife Valerie Profumo.

Ellie Bamber will play Keeler’s friend Mandy Rice-Davies, and Happy Valley star Norton will play Stephen Ward, a figure The Crown fans may remember from season two – when he was actually played by Fox’s Silent Witness co-star Richard Lintern.

Dr Stephen Ward, a key figure in the Profumo affair, was put on trial for living off immoral earnings (Getty, JG)
Dr Stephen Ward, a key figure in the Profumo affair (Getty, JG)

Ward was an osteopath, an artist, and a socialite. He knew Keeler and Profumo, and also the Soviet naval attaché Captain Yevgeny Ivanov with whom Keeler was accused of simultaneously conducting an affair – a possible national security risk.

According to the BBC, “The Trial of Christine Keeler “takes a fresh look at one of the most infamous British stories” and “takes us behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of one of the most revealing and iconic stories of modern times.”

“I’m delighted to be playing Christine Keeler in this new drama,” said Cookson. Amanda Coe has written an illuminating script about a vivid, complex woman who has previously, it seems, been reduced and misunderstood.

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“Now feels like the perfect time to reconsider her life, and redress the balance.”


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