Diana – The Movie – My thoughts

I cannot give an opinion on the film because I was not at the Premiere last night – as I had a club gig to do in Farnborough. Welcome to my life…

My wife and Tom did go along though – and it was lovely for them to catch up with Naomi and other friends who were also there. My son, Harry was not there. He was not invited and fair enough but he will see it in due course and so will I.

But a word on the reaction to the film so far…

It seems that the general consensus so far is one of outrage that the film should be made at all – principally for it being exploitative and profit driven.

This a reaction that confuses me for a number of reasons – chiefly because film commonly depicts stories of great notoriety. Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13, The Iron Lady, The Social Network, The Queen, Lincoln…

And film is just one of many outlets and formats for telling a story – and some way behind publishing. Pop in to any book shop or go on line – and you should be struck at the wealth of magazines and books that are available on the life and death of the Princess of Wales. It is truly bewildering. Not to mention the array of footage that newspapers dedicated to her life and death – and still do – and yes all with a motive of making a return – or a profit.

A quick word on Profit – which has become an ugly word – especially against the backdrop of the financial crisis that I fear is by no means over.

Profit is not to blame. Of course, there are some venal people in finance who appropriate obscene amounts of money for themselves. But equally so, sports stars, actors, lawyers and lovable entrepreneurs with airlines. In my ordinary London suburb is a new house that has just been built. The thing is colossal and a monument to bad taste. Value? I have no idea, but possibly certainly north of £6m. And I was interested to learn that it is owned by not a banker, but in fact, a doctor.

But profit per se is not a bad thing.

Drugs for diabetes and breast cancer have been developed by firms motivated by profit and not altruism. And so what, if we can treat breast cancer? Profits are what employ people and create tax revenues.

It is often said that NHS is a not-for-profit organisation – Wrong! It is absolutely for profit. Ask the thousands of people who work for it. Doesn’t a doctor profit from his efforts and don’t the providers of goods and services to the NHS do so in order to make a profit? If they didn’t make a profit, then they simply wouldn’t do it.

I enjoy writing books. I write the best books that I can in the hope that people will enjoy them – and therefore word will spread and they will sell – and as such I will profit and be able to write further books and so the world continues to turn…

And so it is with film. Of course films are made in the hope of making a profit. Otherwise, films would only be the preserve of vain glorious people who are already rich.

Not that some films cannot be in bad taste and exploitative – and Diana might well be.

But my observation is this – the story of Diana’s personal life has for years been written about and speculated upon and often in an unseemly and tawdry fashion. Even the lineage of Prince Harry is commonly and openly discussed and joked about on TV, another media outlet for stories.   And for there to be so many books published about Diana – they must be successful – otherwise there wouldn’t be so many. And so given this level of interest in her and demand and the notoriety of ‘the most famous woman in the world’ – it seems obvious that a film would be made – and so people’s outrage should be reserved for the merits of the film and not whether or not it should have been made?

Finally, on my books – for the many thousands of hours that I have spent writing them – I fear that I earn something approaching 10p/hour, so entirely uneconomic then – but this is the risk we take – and I am pleased to say that at some point in the future there will be another DH book – and that this book might be the breakthrough vehicle to validate my back list and makes it all worthwhile – profitwise… and for this, I make no apologies at all.







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