The Trial of Chrstine Keeeler has become a firm fixture on Sunday nights as BBC viewers have been hooked on the six-part series which tells the story of the biggest political scandals in UK history. The show, which is based on the fallout of the Profumo has seen James Norton star as “peculiar” osteopath and artist Stephen Ward, who became one of the central figures in the scandal. Last weekend’s episode saw him take his own life as his biographer and friend Tom Mangold opened up about his final days to Radio Times.
Last weekend’s instalment saw Stephen, alongside Christine (Sophie Cookson) and Mandy Rice-Davies (Ellie Bamber), go to court for the trial against Stephen.
Stephen had been the one to originally introduce Christine to Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, back in 1961.
After the events and stress surrounding the trial became too much for him, Stephen decided to take his own life.
Viewers were left heartbroken after the tragic scenes as they commended James Norton’s performance.
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In an emotional monologue at the end of last week’s episode, he said: “I met a man who wasn’t there, he wasn’t there again today.
“I’m sorry I had to do this but it’s really more than I can stand, the horror day after day in the court and on the street.
“It’s not only fear, it’s a wish not to let them get me, I’d rather get themselves, be happy, I tried to do my stuff,” he concluded, before swallowing some pills with whiskey.
After the show finale, a one-off documentary will look into the true story behind the 1963 scandal.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Tom Mangold opened up about Stephen’s final days.
Recalling his final conversations, Tom explained how Stephen felt “let down”.
Tom said: “He remained convinced his wide circle of friends, from senior MI5 officers to Lord Astor, would come to his rescue and give evidence on his behalf ‘They won’t let me down, Tom. I know I can always rely on them,’ he said time and again.”
He explained how he saw Stephen in the days before his death as he felt he could’ve “stopped his suicide”.
“‘I [Stephen] need to see you tonight, Tom. It’s important.’ I had twice been shown the yellow card by my then wife, who said, with justification, ‘If you’re not home by 7pm, don’t bother coming home.’ I’d been away for weeks.”
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“I told Stephen of my predicament and he was quietly persistent. ‘Tom, you’re one of the very few I trust, please, please.’ I said I’d “pop in” but not for long.
“I could easily have stopped his suicide: held his hand through the darkness of that terrible night, drank a bottle of wine with him, let him talk, find closure before the prison cell locked him in. I could have cheered him out of his depression.
“Instead, I left, showering him with banalities. ‘Don’t do anything silly, Stephen…’
“The next day my night news editor, a cheerful cockney, woke me at about 7am: ‘Get down to St Stephen’s Hospital, sweet’art. Your mate Ward’s topped himself.’