The Trial of Christine Keeler: How did Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward meet?
The Profumo Affair rocked the political arena of early 1960s when news of a relationship between a young model named Christine Keeler (played by Sophie Cookson) and the Minister of War John Profumo (Ben Miles) hit the papers. BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler examines this from the perspective of how it affected Keeler and her immediate circle, including the man who introduced them, Stephen Ward (James Norton). Here’s everything viewers need to know about how the pair knew each other in the first place.
How did Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward meet?
BBC One’s six-part series The Trial of Christine Keeler is currently airing on Sunday evenings.
Set during and after the Profumo Affair, the series examines what happened and how it affected all those who were involved in the scandal.
However, at the heart of the show is Keeler herself, who viewers first meet in 1963 just before the affair became public knowledge.
As it is only briefly shown in the show, some viewers have been curious about how the young model found herself thrust into the world of media attention.
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Keeler was born in a working-class family in Uxbridge before she moved to London at 17-years-old.
She began working at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Beak Street, Soho, which was where she met Ward in 1959.
Ward was a well-known osteopath and society man who moved in several influential circles at the time.
Keeler went on to have a non-sexual friendship with Ward, living on-and-off in his Wimpole Mews home for many years.
In fact, it was Ward who later introduced Keeler to Profumo in July 1961 at a party hosted at Cliveden House in Berkshire.
Speaking of their relationship, Keeler told The Guardian in 2001 ahead of the publishing of her memoir more about them.
She spoke of how “trusted in him, believed in him, of course like a father” to the publication.
She added: “He loved life. Everything he did he made to seem a wonderful thing to do.”
After the Profumo Affair made it into the papers, Ward was place on trial in June 1963 when he was charged with immorality offences.
His trial began on July 22 when the prosecution argued he had been living off the immoral earnings of Keeler and her close friend Mandy Rice-Davies.
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Many of the changes against him were dismissed but he was convicted on two counts of living off immoral earnings.
However, before the verdict was delivered, Ward took an overdose of sleeping pills on July 30, 1963 and died three days later on August 3, aged 50.
Speaking about the portrayal of him in the series, actor James Norton told Express.co.uk and other media about the complications of playing him.
He said: “I fell in love with him, as you often do with the roles you play.
“He was incredibly likeable. Everyone who met him says he was charismatic, peculiar, but ultimately drew people in. He always saw the best in people and was very non-judgmental.”
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Norton went on to add how he had to balance this with an understanding of his actions.
He added: “The likeability came very easily. What we had to be careful of was to not give him too easy a way out.
“With the court case and what was ultimately a miscarriage of justice, he has been dealt a relatively easy hand in history.
“But the fact is, he did groom them. He would always say he was enabling them, giving them an opportunity, but at the same time he was using them as his ticket into the boys’ club so he had a lot to answer for.”
The Trial of Christine Keeler continues tonight (Sunday, January 12) on BBC One at 9pm.
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