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Actress brings back to life icon of the Swinging Sixties, Christine Keeler

PUBLISHED: 14:25 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 January 2020

Sophie Cookson as Christine Keeler in the BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler. Picture: BEN BLACKALL/ECOSSE FILMS 2019/MILK PUBLICITY/BBC PRESS OFFICE

Sophie Cookson as Christine Keeler in the BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler. Picture: BEN BLACKALL/ECOSSE FILMS 2019/MILK PUBLICITY/BBC PRESS OFFICE

Archant

Christine Keeler was the icon of a generation and she has been brought back to life by Suffolk actress Sophie Cookson in a high profile BBC television drama.

Sophie Cookson, who was a pupil at Woodbridge School, seen here with the rest of the cast from Sophie Cookson, who was a pupil at Woodbridge School, seen here with the rest of the cast from "Kingsman: The Secret Service". Picture: IMDb

Sophie Cookson, who plays the main role in the six part drama, attended Woodbridge School between 2000 and 2008.

Set in the swinging sixties, she plays Christine Keeler who was just 19 when she became embroiled in a sex scandal that would bring down the British government.

In what became known as the Profumo Affair, the teenage model was having affairs with both John Profumo, 46, the Conservative Secretary of State for War, and Yevgeny Ivanov, 31, a naval attaché at the Soviet embassy, and a spy.

Keeler's enabler was her friend Stephen Ward who moved in aristocratic circles and introduced her to both men.

Sophie Cookson, pictured here as a student at Woodbridge School. Picture: JAMIE NIBLOCK/ARCHANT ARCHIVESSophie Cookson, pictured here as a student at Woodbridge School. Picture: JAMIE NIBLOCK/ARCHANT ARCHIVES

After the affair was exposed, Profumo resigned, Keeler went to prison for perjury and Ward took his own life.

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Originally from Sussex, Ms Cookson was raised in Suffolk and got her big break in the Matthew Vaughn-directed spy comedy hit "Kingsman: The Secret Service" which was released in 2014.

Chosen over actresses such as Emma Watson and Bella Heathcote, her performance earned her a nomination for "Best Female Newcomer" at the Empire Awards.

Sophie Cookson seen here on stage at the Empire Awards with actor James McAvoy. Picture: IAN GAVAN/IMDbSophie Cookson seen here on stage at the Empire Awards with actor James McAvoy. Picture: IAN GAVAN/IMDb

The 29 year old was a student at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts department at the Suffolk school which is supported by the Seckford Foundation.

Speaking of her time spent in drama school, she said: "Drama school gives you certain skills and avenues that you can go down. It's up to you, as an individual, what you take from it.

I'd say there's definitely skills I learned in drama school that I will always carry with me in every single piece of work I do through my career."

After stealing the show at the Seckford Theatre in Woodbridge with a heart-wrenching performance in "Les Misérables" in 2007, Ms Cookson was destined for stardom.

Sophie Cookson as Christine Keeler in the BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler. Picture: BEN BLACKALL/ECOSSE FILMS 2019/MILK PUBLICITY/BBC PRESS OFFICESophie Cookson as Christine Keeler in the BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler. Picture: BEN BLACKALL/ECOSSE FILMS 2019/MILK PUBLICITY/BBC PRESS OFFICE

Shona Norman, Headteacher at Woodbridge School, said: "As a school we couldn't be more proud of what Sophie has achieved.

"From her starring roles at Woodbridge School to her performances in film, we wish her every success in her future career."

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