‘The Trial of Christine Keeler’ reviews round-up: ‘A fast, fun ride’ for ‘The Crown’ fans

The BBC’s new The Trial of Christine Keeler series launched in the UK tonight.

Based on one of the most infamous British true life stories, the six-part period drama explores the chain of events in the 1960s which became known as the Profumo affair.

The Trial of Christine Keeler follows the cover-up of an affair between a British Minister and model Christine Keeler as the scandal threatens to bring down the government.


The brilliant cast includes Sophie Cookson (Kingsman) as Christine Keeler and James Norton (Grantchester) as Stephen Ward.

They’re joined by Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables) as Mandy Rice-Davies, Ben Miles (The Crown) as John Profumo, Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) as Valerie Profumo, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Angels in America) as Johnny Edgecombe, and Anthony Welsh (Black Mirror) as Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon.

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews for the first episode to help you decide if you’d like to watch it:


“…the success of this six-part series stands or falls on casting a lead actor with enough presence to forcefully convey what all the fuss is about. And Kingsman’s Sophie Cookson is simply sensational. Yes, the physical resemblance – that same, traffic-stopping beauty – is uncanny, but Cookson also finds just the right mix of strength and vulnerability in a young woman who is simultaneously street smart, and hopelessly naïve.” ★★★★ – Radio Times


“If The Trial doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of last year’s A Very English Scandal, about the 70s equivalent of Keeler and its fallout, it remains a furiously fast, fun ride which doesn’t let the deeper, darker issues fall from its grasp.” ★★★★ – The Guardian


“With six hour-long episodes to play with, The Trial of Christine Keeler has space to develop its characters beyond the headlines, and for Coe to tease out subtexts about racism, sexism, and nuclear anxiety alongside the central theme of powerful men abusing their positions.” ★★★ – The Independent


“…the disjointed narrative, full of flashbacks and flash-forwards, made it hard to get a sense of the unfolding scandal. And some of the dialogue and voiceover was unforgivably clunky. There’s still time for it to improve but I’ve a feeling it may have a common failing of historical drama – overly familiar to those who know the story and overly confusing to those who don’t.” ★★★ – iNews


“…a scandal imbued with a stylish exoticism.” ★★★★ – The Times


“…whereas Russell T Davies’s screenplay for A Very English Scandal glittered with wit, irony and insight, the characters in this dramatisation are nowhere near as interesting as the historical myths surrounding them.” ★★★ – The Arts Desk


“With perfectly observed props and costumes to evoke the period, and an array of notorious characters, this was like a soft porn version of The Crown.” ★★★★★ – The Daily Mail


“…it’s an extremely handsome, expensive-looking production that wouldn’t look out of place dropped into a run of The Crown. Indeed, two of Her Majesty’s Prime Ministers from that show, Anton Lesser and Michael Maloney, pop up here, in a cast that radiates class at every level.” ★★★★ – Radio Times


“The Profumo affair … seen, at last, through the female gaze.” – The Guardian


“The strong performances, coupled with the clever script, ensure that The Trial of Christine Keeler is an intriguing watch. The real-life story underlines the notion that the truth is stranger than fiction, so the jury may still be out on whether the show can manage to balance the startling events with its initial dedication to character. The opening signs are extremely positive, though.” – Hey U Guys