Sexy Starmer was not the model for Bridget Jones heartthrob Darcy, author reveals

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By CJ McKinney on

Helen Fielding puts much-loved rumour to rest but insists Labour leader is lush

Sir Keir Starmer and Mr Darcy (Credit: Allstar)

One of the legal world’s best-loved urban myths has finally been put to rest.

Keir Starmer was not the inspiration for stuffy but sexy Mark Darcy out of Bridget Jones’s Diary, according to the character’s creator.

Helen Fielding wrote the 1996 novel that was later made into a film starring Renée Zellweger as hapless reporter Bridget Jones and Colin Firth as barrister love interest Mark Darcy.

Despite persistent rumours that Sir Keir was the model for the fictional human rights barrister, Fielding told Radio Times magazine that it ain’t so as she’s never actually met him.

The Radio Times Christmas issue isn’t on general sale until tomorrow but a sneak preview of the interview with Fielding is all over the press today.

The Sun reports Fielding as saying “Keir is fantastic. But no, I’ve never met him. They are very similar, though”.

She reportedly added: “He’s so good, decent and intelligent but so buttoned up. I want to say, ‘Come on Keir, loosen your tie, ruffle up your hair’”.

Like Darcy, “he doesn’t think of himself as sexy, but he’s really sexy”.

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It’s never been particularly clear where the Starmer-is-Darcy rumours got started. Starmer himself poured cold water on the notion in January, telling ITV:

“Everybody asks me this question when they should be asking her [Fielding] the question, because she knows the answer and I don’t. It’s a rumour that’s been doing the rounds for some years but I honestly don’t know the answer to it”.

Fielding herself has previously hinted that it was rubbish, saying on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs “it’s amazing the number of people that lay claim to be Daniel [Cleaver, played by Hugh Grant] or Mark [Darcy], including Keir Starmer”.

Fellow human rights barrister Ben Emmerson has also been rumoured to be the inspiration for the Darcy character.

The Bridget Jones’s Diary film came out in 2001 — roughly when today’s law undergrads would have been born.

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