The packaging of the John and Jill love affair has run in parallel to the media’s dissection of Charles and Diana’s separation. It was a book that finally destroyed the Royal marriage and now we are being asked to believe Some Other Rainbow could be the book that will make this one. Stuart Cosgrove reveals the reality behind the romantic hype.



here is a moment in Some Other Rainbow when the book comes alive and you are thrown into direct confrontation with its characters, and the drama their lives have unleashed. In many respects it is an unremarkable moment neither heroic not horrific a moment the hostage himself has only read about.

The war-tom streets of Beirut are miles away and the holy anger of Hezbollah conspicuous by its absence. Jill Morrell is watching a World Cup match on the television with John McCarthy’s best friend Nick Togsvig. Between the two of them they have arranged that an acquaintance will unravel a banner at a football match in Mexico, in the vain hope that John McCarthy, manacled in a hellhole in the

the publishers have played on the potentlal ot the lloyal romance - the back cover shows John and Jlll walkan casually through a tleld of rough grass and thlstles. I: It Balmoral or thelr own peaceful retreat - where Belrot tears to tread?

Middle East will see the banner and find strength in their love.

It is a futile gesture. Or is it? They hope that John is alive. Maybe he is dead. Shot through the back of the head and left in a sack on the outskirts of the city.

Suddenly the banner appears, up near the score board, barely visible as the TV camera pans across the crowd. They cheer. They hug each other. They begin to imagine the unthinkable: that they have the power to free John McCarthy. And although they did not know it at the time, they had made a modest start to the memorable media campaign that turned McCarthy into a celebrity - free at last but always imprisoned in the compounds of fame.

12 The List 7—20 May 1993