Bridget Jones’s Diary the movie is almost 20 years old, but the romcom heroine first came to life in a newspaper column penned by Helen Fielding some five years earlier.
Tonight, BBC2 celebrates 25 years of the Chardonnay-soaked a-bit-shIT girl in light-hearted documentary Being Bridget Jones.
The nostalgic special features author Helen as she shares the inspiration behind the original book – her own calorie-counting diary at university.
Stars of the film Renee Zellwegger – 51 now, 31 when she filmed the movie – Hugh Grant and Colin Firth also all appear to share their fond memories and reveal a few secrets.
Helen recently watched the original movie again after 15 years and admits that there’s no way it could be made now – mostly due to the sexism and sexual harassment our ‘little Bridget’ was subjected to.
Which scenes would need to be changed – and how?
1. Bridget Jones’s Diary – the diary itself
Writing on paper? In a book? For only her to ever see? If only! Bridget would instead be all over the internet and she’d have turned her insecure, self-obsessed ramblings into celebrating ‘keeping it real’ and ‘doing you’ (hon) – she’d have a blog and an Instagram account called #JustAsIAm that’s followed by 3million ‘sisters’ around the world.
She’d probably go viral on TikTok for her drunken singing to Chaka Khan wearing big pants on her head (#queengoals). And an image of her naked body with all its ‘wobbly bits’ would be projected onto the Houses of Parliament, sponsored by L’oreal (because she’s worth it = we all are).
2. “Hellooooo Mummy”
The PC warriors would have Daniel stabbing his own eyes out for exposing his Oedipus complex when he copped sight of Bridget’s enormous pants.
In 2020, Bridget wouldn’t even be wearing the form-shaping knickers (apart from on her head for comedy value), because she’d be proud of how she looks and her body’s ‘curves’: a man would take her as she is, or miss out on her candy (a word she’d learn from Gemma Collins, who’d become a friend after hanging out together at loads of Influencer events celebrating ‘real women’).
3. Darcy and Cleaver love tug
Flitting between these two men so she had a pathetic back-up plan for her battered self-esteem each time one of them rejected her? Sod that.
Why bother letting the same two men crap all over her when she could meet a whole lot more to treat her badly on Tinder? Variety is the spice of life, after all. Ofc, she’d convince herself that this is a liberating way to have the best chance of finding her perfect match.
Or perhaps they’d all agree to a polyamorous throuple… Darcy and Cleaver went to boarding school, they’re bound to have form.
4. Mocking Darcy’s Christmas jumper
The dashing lawyer was derided for his reindeer jumper, but it turns out his mum was just ahead of her time.
It’s become a staple of the festive season. Christmas Jumper Day even has a date in the calendar. For kids and twonks.
5. Self-Help Books
Girls who used to read self-help books in Bridget’s day were considered desperate and definitely not relationship material.
If a man spotted Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus on her bookshelf, he’d be out the door while still peeling off the condom (ofc he’d wait till he’d got his leg over before bailing).
These days an interest in wellbeing, self-awareness and unlocking one’s individual power is celebrated – but Bridget’s books would be replaced by listening to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast and following Matt Haig on Instagram.
6. Shagging her boss
After quitting her job with Cleaver, Bridget told her prospective new boss at Sit Up Britain she’d slept with her last employer – and he hired her on the spot, remarking that no one ever gets sacked for shagging the boss at his TV company.
Of course, workplace affairs still go on now. But these days unsolicited advances from male colleagues would get their dirty dog backsides booted out the door. Hello, HR?
7. The bum shot
The infamous slide down the fireman’s pole as her backside appeared in close-up on TV screens across the nation! Her boss also yelled ‘Get a shot of her boobs’ while she was on air. Totally unacceptable. She’d have her union on speed dial and go through bosses faster than Darcy goes through ‘ums’ if this was happening today.
But if she wanted to put pictures of her boobs and bum on Instagram to celebrate and encourage self-love, that’s just great (#JustAsIAm). She might even set up an Only Fans account (an artful one, ofc)… a portfolio career has no limits.
8. Saucy bunny costume
Firstly, Bridget probably wouldn’t even attend a ‘tarts and vicars’ party as it’s derogatory to women. Or perhaps she’d wear a bunny onesie instead and take the opportunity to educate all the awful old people about all the ways their generation was dreadful to women… animals… the planet. And men with beards.
9. Casual racism and homophobia
References to the Japanese being a cruel race and ‘poofs’. No. Just no.
10. Turkey curry
Bridget would almost certainly be trying to be vegan, demanding a curried butternut squash instead (while hiding a couple of chicken vol au vents in her handbag for later when there’s no one around to judge her).
11. Blue soup
No chance would Bridget even pretend to cook dinner. She’d either chop up the mountain of vegetables she’d bought in a box from the local farm and not eaten (see above) and pass it off as a raw-foods Buddha bowl, or order a meal from the little Danish spisested on Deliveroo, because ‘support small businesses’ is her sway.
12. Writing off motherhood at 32
The average woman will have only just attained a salary that doesn’t see her bank balance slip back into the red three days after pay day at this age. And for most the peri-menopause is still well over a decade away. They’re not dried up yet! And: options.
13. Smug marrieds
Tied down at 32, saddled with a mortgage and kids… soaring house prices, job insecurity, failing schools…. More like suicidal marrieds! Their freedom is almost 20 years away, when the kids eventually leave home. And they’ll likely divorce after years of a sexless, joyless marriage to someone they hate but stayed with for the sake of the kids (statistics don’t lie).
Trying to find love again in their 50s because they acted in haste to satisfy a prescriptive life plan? When the boiled-onions stench of sweaty menopause and limp dick syndrome are in full throttle?! Smugs no more.
14. “Just as you are”
Darcy said he loved Bridget just as she was. Everything back then when an average-looking woman was meant to be really grateful for handsome men whose lives were so much more together throwing her a glance.
These days, Bridget would know her self-worth and be on a perpetual journey of self-improvement – and she’d expect that in her men too. (At least until she gets really desperate around 41.)
15. Bridget’s flat
There is no way a publicist working in publishing would be able to afford that flat! It’s in Borough, one of the most sought-after areas in central London, where a one-bedroom flat would cost around £1,700 per month to rent. She’d likely be taking home around £2,000 a month salary. Which means she’d only afford one bottle of vodka and a packet of Marlborough Lights a week.
And even if the flat belonged to her parents back in the day, property developers would have made a sale offer they just couldn’t say no to. She’d more likely be on a train out of London Bridge to Chatham every evening. And no one deserves that, not even singles covered in scales.
Boycott sexist Bridget Jones’s Diary?
Will we be giving up on Bridget Jones this Christmas? Hell no, we’ll still be all over it like a filthy rash on Daniel Cleaver’s nether regions. But be thankful times have moved on.
Where to watch Bridget Jones’s Diary
Rather disappointingly, it’s not currently on Netflix, however all three films are available to buy on Amazon or with a Sky Cinema pass.
- Watch Being Bridget Jones on BBC2 tonight at 9pm or catch up on iPlayer!
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