From cult newspaper column to global movie phenomenon, BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY has turned the ditzy girl-about-town into an institution. Here’s the true story of how it happened.

Words: Bridget Jones (as told to Hannah McGill)

10 THE LIST 29 Mar—t2 Apr 2001


I:'.\'posure limited. print-run small. cult kudos high (rg). relevance to t'ontemporary culture minimal.

Am launched upon world in form of hilarious girly column in Independent newspaper. for covert enjoyment of women wishing to pretend for benefit of nearby males that they are reading news. lla! ()nly joking. Am tantalising post-feminist sphinx put on this earth to challenge dominant notions about gender relations in modern Britain.

EARLY 1996

Exposure suddenly vast. print-run very res/n'ctahle thank you. cult status high. relevance to

contemporary culture increasingfirst. Hurrah! Shall shortly rule entire earth like giant colossus (but slender sylph-like one with elegant robes from Jigsaw). Am more than mere column fodder for ever-dwindling subset of Independent readers. Have become heroine of proper book. in manner of Elizabeth Thing and less (2/"1'lze H'hatsits. Shall be prominently displayed in \N'aterstone‘s. and invited to sit on Booker panel. whereupon shall don pashmina and chat gain to Nigella Lawson

over esoteric fig-based canapes.

Alarming that woman pretending to be self on cover of book looks like Tracey iimin. imagine Tracey limin's Diary: ‘Alcohol units one million. cigarettes innumerable. foul- mouthed public spats with arts pundits seven. obscene embroidery projects fourteen. Turner Prizes nil'. Would doubtless be far more intriguing than own resolutely trivial misdoings and cowardly nicotine

intake. However. triviality is part of

charm. Unlike frightening harpy limin. am manifestly Everywoman.

LATE 1996

Exposure so excessive as to he nauseating. print-run terri/fi'vingly immense. popularity high (vg). cult status low (had); relevance to t'ontemporary cultur'e quite overwhelming (ifs/err ofarticles anything to go by). Heavens. Am runaway bestseller of airport fiction proportions. In fact am no longer merely Everywoman so much as actual bona fide cultural phenomenon type thing. Bridget Jones now recognisable social archetype: hapless thirty— something female hellbent on Chardonnay-fuelled

fi g u re

hirsband-lninting but impeded by latent idiocy and food stains upon person. Publishing world deluged by brightly coloured tomes called Philippa (ioes Shopping For Bras and 'Iampon 'Iales and All Men Are Shits: How Do I l’ind Me One”. Am bracketed with American lawyer-cum-ga/elle creation Ally McBeal in articles about biological clock-watching and cellulite. Bi/arre as McBeal is ('alvin Klein—clad nymph who has never consumed calories nor found pair of knickers humiliatineg stuck to thigh. l'biquity undeniably gratifying to ego. but have noted unfortunate side-effect in form of sneering resentment. Am accused of reactionary anti—feminism and blamed for continued popularity of smoking. ; drinking. loveless casual sex and trashy populist fiction. Also bulimia. And mad cow disease. Sophisticated literati types now forced to deny ownership of dismally plebeian bestselling book. Though say so self. considerable comic delights of book neglected in frenzy of hype and bluster. l’nderstand now why other vastly famous individuals such as Nicole Kidman. Madonna and Stephen Hawking budget for discreet (iUCCi sunglasses and rambling country retreats. To minimise chances of deranged fan kidnap and murder-type scenario. shall engage services of wiry and enigmatic body- guard. resembling young Terence Stamp. I


Exposure still e.t'('essii‘e. film adaptation in production. public hate SHHHS around Saddam