Well He Would, Wouldn’t He? Mandy Rice-Davies and keeping your head held high…
Well He Would, Wouldn’t He is a 2013 Radio 4 drama which tells The Profumo Affair’s tales from Mandy Rice-Davies viewpoint – indeed it is introduced and narrated by Mrs Davies herself and in many ways it feels like the alternate angle accompaniment to the 1989 film Scandal.
Although I have an utter soft-spot for the stories, shennanigans and shutterbuggery of The Profumo Affair, I’m also very aware of the voyeuristic aspect of that interest and that these were people’s real lives.
To hear this often told story voiced by one of its participants, particularly after her sad and quite sudden death was moving, informative and reminded me of the fact that this is/was historical fact not a dream-like fiction.
The photographs of her entering / leaving court during the Stephen Ward trial capture her playful defiance and intention to not be bowed by events, the expectations / morality of the then establishment or public opinion.
That was something that struck me when listening to the play – the sense of a woman who wasn’t going to be defined or restricted by this one – or two – sets of youthful dalliances and actions (admittedly ones that had somewhat larger ripples than such things generally do in your youth) and to live life fully.
(As an aside she described her life as “one slow descent into respectability” and you could follow a line from these early high profile starts to cabaret singing, restaurant/nightclub ownership, acting, writing and eventual companionship with once heads of state).
Charlotte Williams wrote the play. Visit her moving comments about it, the events and Mandy Rice-Davies here.
Visit the drama at the venrable British Broadcasting here (and wander why, despite quite possibly paying for it via licensing fees, you can’t actually listen to it).