‘Buttoned-up’ Sir Keir Starmer did NOT inspire Bridget Jones’s suitor Mark Darcy – despite their similarities – insists author Helen Fielding as she tells ‘sexy’ Labour leader ‘loosen your tie, ruffle up your hair’

  • Rumour has been ‘doing the rounds’ for years, with author skirting round issue
  • She’s now said although Sir Keir is ‘fantastic’ he was not the basis for Mr Darcy 
  • Called the Labour leader ‘really sexy’ and urged him not to be ‘so buttoned up’  

Sir Keir Starmer was not the inspiration for Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s Diary author Helen Fielding has finally confirmed. 

The rumour has been ‘doing the rounds’ for years, with Sir Keir saying he would be ‘flattered’ if it was true but only Ms Fielding herself could say. 

The writer has repeatedly skirted around the issue but put the matter to rest by saying the politician was ‘fantastic’ but had not inspired Mr Darcy. 

‘They are very similar, though,’ she told the Radio Times Christmas issue. ‘He’s so good and decent and intelligent, but so buttoned up.

‘I always want to say, ‘Come on, Keir, loosen your tie, ruffle up your hair. He doesn’t think of himself as sexy, but he’s really sexy.’

There have been repeated rumours that Sir Keir Starmer (left, in the Commons) was the inspiration for Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) in Bridget Jones’s Diary

The writer also likened Sir Keir’s exchanges Boris Johnson in the Commons with the rows between Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver. 

She added: ‘And when he and Boris spar, it does remind me of Mark and Daniel.’

The Labour leader gave his view on the rumour in January, telling ITV: ‘It’s a rumour that’s been doing the rounds for years, but I honestly don’t know the answer…

‘Of course I would (be flattered). But I honestly don’t know.’

Author Helen Fielding has repeatedly skirted around the issue but put the matter to rest by saying the politician was ‘fantastic’ but had not been the basis for the character

Sir Keir was a human rights lawyer, working on a series of high profile cases in the 90s at the time of Helen’s columns in The Independent, which spawned the Bridget Jones’s Diary series.

His and Mr Darcy’s career paths even show similarities, as they both rose to prominence taking on pro-bono cases and as defence lawyers. 

The writer may have met the politician when she lived in Leeds, while Keir read law at the city’s university, or as his career blossomed while she was a journalist.

The pair also both went to Oxford University, even though they were in different years. 

In the books Mr Darcy – played by Colin Firth – has a relationship with (Bridget Renée Zellweger) after she leaves the publishing world following an affair with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). 

In July, Ms Fielding discussed her famous creation on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, admitting that she finds it difficult to stomach the ‘shocking’ levels of sexism featured in the film adaptation. 

The writer recalled how she and her two children watched one of the hit Hollywood adaptations, which she co-wrote, starring Oscar-winner Renée Zellweger as the thirty-something singleton.

Fielding’s book series were turned into a popular trilogy of films, which starred Renee Zellweger (pictured) as Bridget

The 62-year-old said she was ‘staggered’ by the sleazy behaviour of Bridget’s male colleagues, especially at the fictitious TV show Sit Up Britain, where the heroine is told: ‘No one ever gets sacked for shagging the boss.’

‘You couldn’t write that now,’ Ms Fielding said. ‘The level of sexism Bridget was dealing with, the hand on the bum in so many of the scenes, [Sit Up Britain boss] Richard Finch, ‘Let’s have a shot of the boobs.’

‘I mean in the end she turned round and stuck it to them but it was just part and parcel of her life.

It was quite shocking for me to see how things have changed.’

Ms Fielding, who first wrote about Bridget in a 1995 newspaper column, said her approach would be different in the post-MeToo era.

She said: ‘I think the social circumstances surrounding Bridget then are different from now.

‘I think it wouldn’t have been possible to write it in that way now. Things have changed – happily.’

In the books Mr Darcy has a relationship with (Bridget Renée Zellweger) after she leaves the publishing world following an affair with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant)

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