Sophie Cookson to play Christine Keeler in new drama about Profumo affair

The Kingsman actress will star opposite James Norton and Ben Miles.

Sophie Cookson, James Norton and Emilia Fox are to star in a new drama about the Profumo affair for BBC One, it has been announced.

The six-part series, The Trial Of Christine Keeler, will feature Kingsman actress Cookson as the model at the centre of one of the UK’s biggest scandals of the 20th century.

Keeler’s affair with Tory cabinet minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat at the same time at the height of the Cold War dominated headlines in the 1960s and nearly destroyed Harold Macmillan’s government.

James Norton
James Norton will play Stephen Ward (Ian West/PA)

Profumo, who was eventually forced to resign after lying to Parliament about the affair, will be played by Ben Miles, while Norton will play Stephen Ward, who was tried for living off “immoral earnings” after claims that he introduced women, including Keeler, to rich clients.

Penned by novelist Amanda Coe, and directed by Andrea Harkin, the series aims to take a fresh look at the scandal and examine the sexual and cultural politics of the events.

Ben Miles
Ben Miles will play John Profumo (Ian West/PA)

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

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

Nocturnal Animals actress Ellie Bamber will play Keeler’s friend, Mandy Rice-Davies, while Fox will play Profumo’s wife, Valerie.

British Independent Film Awards 2018 – London
Ellie Bamber will play Mandy Rice-Davies (Matt Crossick/PA)

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett will play Johnny Edgecombe and Anthony Welsh will play Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon.

Filming for the series began this week in Bristol.

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said, “Casting actresses who could authentically convey the age and experience of the young women at the centre of this piece was key to achieving Amanda’s vision for this story.

“I’m delighted that we have two actresses of such calibre in the roles of Christine and Mandy, and actors of real skill and complexity in James and Ben, to play alongside them.”

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