In between working on Susan Leslie’s campaign for the Dunfermline by-election campaign, I have spent the day in mourning. And if you tell me that you can’t mourn the death of a fictional character, I will simply respond that you have no soul.
Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding has revealed that she has killed off her hero, human rights lawyer Mark Darcy. Bridget is now a widowed single mum with much younger boyfriend. And if you think I’m being silly about it, you should know that it’s the second most read story on the BBC website.
I wonder if Mark Darcy would have been quite as popular if he hadn’t been played so perfectly by Colin Firth. Who can forget that wonderful fight scene with Hugh Grant to It’s Raining Men? The success of the first film was down to the marriage of Firth’s acting, Sharon Maguire’s novel directing, and Helen Fielding’s writing.
That Darcy is gone, though, shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to us. We should have sussed it as soon as Fielding let us know that she was writing another book. Surely Bridget would have learned her lesson in the Edge of Reason. There’s no way that Mark and Bridget would split up. It just wouldn’t be credible and even if they did, it would just be a re-run of EoR. Boring.
No, if the Bridget Jones story is to become a trilogy, Darcy had to die. It was the only way. Yes, I’m sad and I think it’s a course fraught with danger, but of course I’m going to buy Mad about the boy when it comes out in just 11 days’ time. Why wouldn’t I?
But why do I say fraught with danger? Well, I made the stupid mistake of reading Bridget Jones on a train. If you read a book that is laugh out loud, tears down the face hilarious, you need to do it in private or people look at you as if they are terrified of you. Edge of Reason wasn’t quite as funny, but it was still on the light side of light entertainment. This book might well have a toyboy and nits and all the usual sorts of scrapes, but it’s going to have real pathos and sadness intertwined all the way through it as we find out more about Darcy’s demise. There is a risk that this book will try comedy and tragedy and fail at both. It can’t be the Bridget Jones we know and love, can it? It’s supposed to be frothy and frivolous and I don’t see how it can be. I can’t wait to find out, though.