Profumo Affair: Who is Christine Keeler’s lawyer Lord Hutchinson? Meet the Chernobyl star

Profumo Affair: Who is Christine Keeler’s lawyer Lord Hutchinson? Meet the Chernobyl star

January 26, 2020

The Trial of Christine Keeler comes to an end on the BBC tonight (Sunday, January 26) as the series deals with the aftermath of Stephen Ward’s (played by James Norton) overdose as well as Christine Keeler’s (Sophie Cookson) trial for perjury. The series explores what happened when she was defended by British lawyer Lord Jeremy Hutchinson (Paul Ritter).

The final episode of The Trial of Christine Keeler airs tonight on the BBC as viewers follow the conclusion to the story.

As those familiar with the history will know, the final episode will focus in part on the trial Keeler was put on for perjury charges.

This came after the conviction against Keeler’s ex-boyfriend Aloysius ‘Lucky’ Gordon (Anthony Welsh) was dropped following two witnesses querying Keeler’s testimony.

Viewers of the show will remember their appearance proved Keeler’s evidence in the Gordon trial was substantially false.

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As a result, Keeler was put on trial for perjury in 1963 where she was defended by Lord Hutchinson.

Lord Jeremy Nicolas Hutchinson was a well-known lawyer who featured as counsel on a number of important trials.

Some of his clients include Soviet spies George Blake and John Vassall, as well as author and drug-smuggler Howard Marks.

Hutchinson also served as a junior counsel defending Penguin Books in 1960 against obscenity charges.

These were levelled after they published an uncensored version of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Hutchinson was successful in the case, which ruled Penguin was not guilty, allowing them to publish the novel in full.

However, one of his most memorable career moments was when he defended Keeler and gave a powerful closing speech.

In Thomas Grant’s book Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories, he speaks about how it was “described at the time as one of the greatest ever heard at the Old Bailey.”

According to Grant, Hutchinson said in court: “Dr Ward was on his own admission a man without morals. What he lacked in morals he made up for in charm.

“He had great artistic flair and won his way into a snob world of power and privilege, taking with him young girls.

“Miss Keeler was one of them, who he groomed and shined – rather a sot of perverted Professor Higgins.”

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Writer Amanda Coe explained to Express.co.uk how including this moment was an important part to the story.

She said: “To a contemporary audience or anybody reading the material, it’s so striking that age difference, their vulnerability for their age.

“The sense that Stephen Ward was effectively in a sort of grooming relationship with them, it just didn’t really come until the Jeremy Hutchinson plea mitigation that he gave a Christine’s trial.”

Coe also went on to speak about how this is why they included part of this in the final episode.

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She added: “He gave a very empathetic account and there was something quite heartbreaking reading that.

“Because of all the accounts that I’d read, terrible press coverage and contemporary books about it, she really was seen as this harlot, this temptress, this siren.”

In the series, Hutchinson is played by actor Paul Ritter who has appeared in a number of major Hollywood films, including as Guy Haines in Quantum of Solace and as Eldred Worple in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

He has also be in a number of major television dramas in recent years, including playing Benjamin Stevens in Cold Feet, Marcus Levy in The Capture and Randolph Miller in No Offence.

Ritter is currently most recognisable from his role as Anatoly Dyatlov in the 2019 HBO and Sky drama Chernobyl.

The Trial of Christine Keeler concludes on BBC One at 9pm tonight.

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