I’m happy to announce that Wicked Baby, my novella based on the events of the Profumo Affair, is now back in print. This edition includes an afterword and six further articles about the scandal’s lasting impact, which first appeared in the Kindle version. You can order it now for £5.24 from Amazon UK, or $7.45 in the US.
My life has been one long descent into respectability.
I woke up this morning to the news that Marilyn Foreman – better known as Mandy Rice-Davies, whose very name still conjures bittersweet memories of the Profumo Affair, more than half a century later – died last night after a short battle with cancer. I am shocked and sad – she was so full of energy and wit that I thought nothing would stop her. I never knew her personally but she was a huge part of my creative life. And as a woman, her refusal to be cowed by sexual hypocrisy was incredibly inspiring.
I’m proud to announce that Wicked Baby, my 2004 novella about the events of the Profumo Affair, is now available to download via Kindle. This new edition includes an afterword, and five articles about the scandal’s lasting impact on society and popular culture, two of which are previously unpublished. The ebook is available on Amazon worldwide, and will set you back around £2.24, or $3.02 in the US. You can read the first three chapters before purchasing. So to all you e-readers, have at it – and if you like it, please add a quick review and rating on Amazon! More details later…
Preview or buy now in the UK
… and many more!
1960s, Barry Humphries, Beyond the Fringe, Bradford, Christine Keeler, Dame Edna Everage, Edina Ronay, Jean Shrimpton, Joe Orton, Lewis Morley, National Media Museum, Private Eye, Profumo Affair, Wicked Baby
BBC, Christine Keeler, Christopher Booker, Colin Shindler, Harold Macmillan, John Profumo, Private Eye, Profumo Affair, Radio 4, Richard Ingrams, Rumours, Satire, Stephen Ward, Timothy Bligh, Wicked Baby, Willie Rushton
Lord Denning’s report on the Profumo Affair was published fifty years this week. Though dismissed as a government whitewash, its steamy topic made this official enquiry an unlikely bestseller. At the same time, a very different version was unfolding in the pages of a new satirical magazine, Private Eye. This is the subject of Colin Shindler’s radio play, Rumours. Continue reading
On the last day of Dr Stephen Ward‘s infamous trial, the jury went out, and Stephen returned home to his London flat. The next morning, he was discovered unconscious, having overdosed on sleeping pills. He died several days later, on August 3rd, 1963 – having been convicted in his absence.
Whatever his personal flaws, Ward did not live off immoral earnings as charged. He is now widely accepted to have been a scapegoat for Profumo, Astor and others implicated in the scandal, and his tragic fate is a reminder of the true cost of English hypocrisy.
Driving out of London, the clubs that stank of beer and sweat. London in July was hot and heavy as a rush-hour ride on the tube. They swept past the airport, on the road to Maidenhead. Christine’s hairdo tangled in the breeze.
“A party in the country is just the ticket, little baby.”
Stephen pulled over at a bus stop where a young girl waited.
“Aren’t you the baker’s daughter? Hop in. We’re off to Cliveden, don’t you know. We’ll sneak you in for a sherry, if you promise to behave yourself.”
This pastel sketch – by Stephen Ward – is of the unidentified girl who attended the infamous 1961 party at Cliveden, where Christine Keeler first met John Profumo. It was found on the reverse of Ward’s portrait of Keeler, which can be seen on the cover of my 2004 novella, Wicked Baby (soon to be reissued via Kindle.)
This discovery was made by the curators at London’s National Portrait Gallery, while preparing their new display, Scandal ’63, which I hope to review. Writing for the Telegraph, Richard Davenport-Hines – author of An English Affair – suggests the model could be none other than ‘Miss X‘, later a witness in Ward’s ill-fated trial.
I was surprised – and flattered – to find my 2004 novella, Wicked Baby, listed in the bibliography to this book which accompanied the 2010 exhibition at London’s Mayor Gallery, Christine Keeler: My Life in Pictures.
The catalogue includes photographs of Keeler – the iconic model at the centre of 1963’s Profumo Affair – and some of the art she has inspired, edited by James Birch, with essays by Barry Miles and Jean-Jacques Lebel.