The Profumo affair in popular culture: The Keeler Affair (1963) and ‘the commercial exploitation of a public scandal’

Farmer, Richard (2017) The Profumo affair in popular culture: The Keeler Affair (1963) and ‘the commercial exploitation of a public scandal’. Contemporary British History, 31 (3). pp. 452-470. ISSN 1361-9462

[thumbnail of Published manuscript]
PDF (Published manuscript) - Published Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


This article demonstrates that the Profumo affair, which obsessed Britain for large parts of 1963, was not simply a political scandal, but was also an important cultural event. Focussing on the production of The Keeler Affair, a feature film that figured prominently in contemporary coverage of the scandal but which has been largely overlooked since, the article shows that this film emerged from a situation in which cultural entrepreneurs, many of them associated with the satire boom, sought to exploit the scandal for financial gain. Many Profumo-related cultural products found an audience, and thus formed an integral part of, and helped to shape public attitudes towards, the Profumo affair. However, these products did not go uncontested, and resistance to them, and especially to the idea that Keeler might benefit materially from her role in the scandal, speak to concerns about cultural mediations of sex, politics and humour in early-1960s Britain.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: profumo affair,satire,cinema,christine keeler,scandal
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2016 21:45
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 01:46
DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2016.1261698


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item