A new stage play, Who’s the Daddy?, takes its inspiration not only from the Blunkett/Quinn coupling but also two other adulterous affairs which earned the political weekly its new nickname, The Sextator: between editor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson and contributor Petronella Wyatt, and between writer Rod Liddle and the magazine’s receptionist (whose name has been changed for legal reasons).
The “scandalous new farce” is written by the Spectator’s own theatre critics Toby Young and Lloyd Evans with additional writing by Jeremy Lloyd, best known for co-creating the TV sitcoms Are You Being Served and ’Allo, ‘Allo. Directed by Tamara Harvey (who co-directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in the West End), it will have a limited run from 14 July to 28 August 2005 at north London’s King’s Head Theatre.
Young - who last year took to the stage himself in his one-man adaptation of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, his best-selling memoir about his ignominious time at revered American magazine, Vanity Fair - feels confident that neither he nor Evans will lose their jobs over Who’s the Daddy? thanks to the Spectator’s “long and distinguished tradition of tolerating dissent”. On the contrary, Young predicted, “when Boris sees this play, he’ll promote me. Definitely.”
Evans added: “We’re hoping David Blunkett will come along on press night. Normally, the King’s Head doesn’t allow dogs in the audience, but we’ve applied for special dispensation from Islington Council to allow guide dogs in.” Evans and Young’s script includes real-life lines such as Quinn’s alleged remark about Blunkett, “I’ve always wonder what it would be like to sleep with a blind man.”
In the eight-strong cast, American Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde) plays Kimberly Quinn, with Paul Prescott as Blunkett, Tim Hudson as Boris Johnson, Sara Crowe as Petronella Wyatt and Peter Hamilton-Dyer as Rod Liddle. They’re joined by ex EastEnder Michelle Ryan as Tiffany the Mole (the receptionist), Jot Davies as a camp Spanish chef and Saul Reichlin as Tory leader Michael Howard. Who’s the Daddy? is produced by Nica Burns and Ian Osborne.
Young and Evans aren’t the only writers to find inspiration in David Blunkett’s downfall. A stage musical, written by journalist Ginny Dougray, is also in the works (See The Goss, 28 Jan 2005), while filming has also begun on a satirical TV drama for Channel 4 entitled A Very Social Servant. The latter is written by Feelgood’s Alistair Beaton and stars many stage stalwarts including Victoria Hamilton as Kimberly Quinn, Robert Lindsay as Tony Blair and Alex Jennings as Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell.
- by Terri Paddock