Blunkett story has it all

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 10.02.05

London, Feb. 9 (Reuters): When British politician David Blunkett?s career went up in flames last year in a spectacular sex scandal, the story had it all.

There was Shakespearean hubris, adultery, betrayal, cruelty, power and glamour, played out by a cast of characters behaving appallingly to each other in and out of the bedroom. All it needed was a soundtrack. Step forward a three-person creative team and you have ? was it inevitable? ? ?Blunkett: the Musical?.

?It?s tragi-comedy. It?s Porgy and Bess in some respects, La Traviata in others, and Busta Rhymes in others,? said Martin Witts, the producer who will be writing it with journalist Ginny Dougray and music by an American composer known only as MJ. The play is due to have its premiere for an invited audience at a small London theatre in April, before going on to the summer's Edinburgh Fringe festival in Scotland, which helped launch such phenomena as Jerry Springer: the Opera.

?I don't think there can be anything greater,? Witts said, of the story of Blunkett, who was born poor and blind in a tough working class neighbourhood and as a child watched his father die slowly in a horrible industrial accident. ?It's not a knocking piece. It's actually a fairly accurate portrayal of the facts of his life,? Witts said of the play. But it will be funny, too, he promised.

For those who don't remember ? or weren't paying attention ? Blunkett was Britain's home secretary and one of its most popular politicians until last year, when newspapers revealed he was having an affair with a wealthy, married American woman. ?The socialist and the socialite ? what a headline writer's day,? goes the lyric to the show. Blunkett soon became embroiled in a paternity fight for the child of his lover, Kimberly Quinn, publisher of the conservative political journal the Spectator.

He was finally undone when an investigation concluded he had used his position as interior minister to speed up the residence visa of Quinn?s Filipina nanny. Meanwhile, the Spectator?s floppy-haired editor, Boris Johnson, was sacked from his own post as culture spokesman for the opposition Conservative party for having an affair with one of his columnists.