Bridget Jones Author’s Real Life Loss

Behind Mark Darcy’s Death

© CBC 2015

Helen Fielding, author of the Bridget Jones series, shocked fans when she killed off the beloved character Mark Darcy in a landmine accident in Sudan in the new novel Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy.

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight discovered that Fielding herself lost colleague TV producer Alan Stewart to a landmine explosion while filming the 1986 documentary Where Hunger Is A Weapon in Sudan. When she was in the red chair the author opened up to George about the day that it happened -- and how humour is a salve for pain.

“I was a journalist,” said Fielding after George showed her a clip about Stewart’s death. “Yes, I worked in the Sudan a lot. But that did happen. They’d actually left me behind at the border because I was a girl, which I was kind of cross about. And then they didn’t come back. I knew something had happened. I was camping in the aid agency grounds and I just got up and got dressed like the Girl Guide that I am and waited. And then they came back and indeed Alan had been killed.

“So I do know about the hard things that happen in life. What fascinates me is the way that co-exists with humour. Sometimes it’s black humour. I mean, I remember when I was... I sound like one of those old war veterans, ‘When I was in the Sudan’... But I interviewed this refugee who gave us this really heart-rending account of their plight and why they needed money and we were all practically in tears. And then we stopped rolling. And he went, ‘How did I do?’

“And I think my experience anyway of life is even when tough stuff happens people still, they get through it by making each other laugh, by finding the lightness in life.”