Last night saw the beginning of BBC One’s latest prestige drama series, The Trial of Christine Keeler, with the first of six episodes introducing us to the main players in the infamous 1960s sex scandal that came to be known as the Profumo affair.
The scandal, which concerned then Minister for War John Profumo (played on the show by Ben Miles) and his affair with 19-year-old model Christine Keeler (Sophie Cookson), was seen as one of the most shocking cultural moments of its time.
And if a couple of Twitter reactions are anything to go by, some viewers are still slightly shocked watching the events unfold on screen, with some users taking to social media to comment on the amount of sex and nudity on the show.
One Twitter user wrote, “There’s a lot of sex/nudity for a Sunday” while another added “bit saucy for a Sunday night!” Meanwhile a third user tweeted, “One minute in we have had two sex scenes, I hope that is enough scene setting for a while…”
The reaction on the whole from viewers was rather mixed, with some detractors calling the first episode “dull”, “boring”, and “below average” and some comparing it unfavourably to Russell T. Davies’ 2018 drama A Very English Scandal – which also focused on a signifcant historical sex scandal.
Some other viewers called the drama difficult to follow, with one claiming, “A bit more back story and exposition would help rather than just a series of scenes” and another tweeting, “I appear to have completely lost the plot with all the forward and backward dating. I wish dramas would show things in chronological order so I can follow.” Meanwhile, one viewer claimed that the storytelling was “pointlessly overcomplicated.”
However other Twitter users were far more complementary, with praise for James Norton’s portrayal of voyeur Stephen Ward and claims that the show got the “look and feel” of the period spot on.
One user tweeted, “I absolutely loved the look of it – the Notting Hill portrayed in it was spot on – in the early 60’s it was a trillion miles from the gentrified Notting Hill of today- it was a place of high racial tension with the Union of Fascists based in Portobello.”
The second episode of The Trial of Christine Keeler airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One