A young, handsome lawyer dressed in smart suits and with floppy brown hair is how we remember Bridget Jones’s heartthrob Mark Darcy.
But rumours Colin Firth’s brooding character was based on Labour leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer have refused to go away since emerging in 2014.
Author Helen Fielding is said to have modelled Bridget’s love interest on Sir Keir for her 1996 novel, when he was a human rights lawyer.
Colin Firth’s brooding character (right) was based on Labour leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer (left) have refused to go away
Author Helen Fielding is said to have modelled Bridget’s love interest (pictured together) on Sir Keir during the 1990s when he was a human rights lawyer
The pairs’ career paths even show similarities, as they both rose to prominence taking on pro-bono cases and as defence lawyers (pictured, Sir Keir)
The 61-year-old writer may have met the politician when she lived in Morley, Leeds, while Sir Keir read law at the city’s university, or as his career blossomed while she was a journalist.
It has also been reported that Firth styled his performance on the father of two, with neither the actor, Fielding or Sir Keir publicly denying the claim.
The pairs’ career paths even show similarities, as they both rose to prominence taking on pro-bono cases and as defence lawyers.
Social media users seemed split over the rumour the politician could have been the real Mr Darcy.
Social media users seemed split over the rumour the politician could have been the real Mr Darcy
One wrote: ‘I really really want it to be true that Mark Darcy is based on Keir Starmer. Really really.’
Another put: ‘I was today years old when I found out that Keir Starmer was the influence for Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’ Diary.’
And one person added: ‘Finding out Keir Starmer was the inspo for Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones Diary has fully blown my mind.’
But one man wrote: ‘I had a moment of utter despair yesterday when I heard the rumour that Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary is based on Keir Starmer.’
The rumour comes after Sir Keir, 57, tried to dial down claims his wealthy background, with the QC, who owns and lives in a £1.75million house in Camden with his lawyer wife Victoria, saying last month: ‘My background isn’t what people think it is.’
It has also been reported that Firth styled his performance on the father of two, with neither the actor (left), Fielding or Sir Keir (right) publicly denying the claim
But a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed the former human rights barrister was raised in an affluent stockbroker-belt town, despite his claims of a more humble upbringing.
Allies of Sir Keir, who formally launched his campaign yesterday, denied any suggestion he was pretending to be something he was not.
His spokesman insisted he was a ‘proud socialist’ who was standing for the leadership ‘because of his determination to deliver a radical Labour Government at the next Election’.
But Sir Keir once served on the editorial board of Socialist Alternatives – described by Corbyn supporter Paul Mason as ‘a Trotskyist front magazine’.
He wrote articles bitterly attacking the police for their conduct during the 1986 Wapping industrial dispute between disgruntled print workers and Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper company.
Sir Keir claimed that clashes between union members and the police led ‘to the question of the role the police should play, if any, in civil society’.
Once, referring to himself in the third person, he told the BBC that ‘Keir Starmer lives in North London, but Keir Starmer grew up in a town’.
But the Shadow Brexit Secretary’s town was Oxted, Surrey – once named the 20th richest in Britain – and his house had that middle-class staple an Aga. The property also backed on to beautiful countryside.
The Labour frontrunner was raised in the the affluent stockbroker-belt town of Oxted (file image) in Surrey, despite his claims of a more humble upbringing
And while Sir Keir has made frequent reference to his tool maker father, dad Rodney once boasted that he ran his own factory.
Reflecting on his son’s knighthood in 2014, Rodney Starmer wrote in Oxted’s theatre newsletter that his son had spent six months before university working ‘in my factory operating a production machine’.
Sir Keir became a Queen’s Counsel in 2002, saying in an interview that the decision was ‘odd’ as ‘I often used to propose the abolition of the Monarchy’.
Tory MP David Morris said last night: ‘Far from picking a latter-day Neil Kinnock to bring them back to sanity, it sounds like Labour is about to plump for just a cleverer version of Corbyn.’
So despite the rumoured links between Sir Keir and Mark Darcy, their similarities seem to remain purely visual – what with Bridget revealing in the film that her heartthrob votes Tory.
There are further claims the real Mr Darcy was Mark Muller, a London-based barrister.