Sir John Clifford Mortimer ( born 21 April 1923 ) is an English barrister turned prolific writer and dramatist.
John Mortimer is, or has been, a ” Switch ” in spanking terms. He is the Father of Emily Mortimer.
Recently some of John Mortimer’s spanking exploits have come to light in the recently published book, “Devil’s Advocate : The Unauthorised Biography of John Mortimer “.
These are a sample of articles about this book and Mortimer, some of the information is repeated:
” Rumpole takes a great big spanking
John Mortimer is no hero to his muckraking biographer, report Richard Brooks and Stuart Wavell “
Like one of the gnarled but magnificent lime trees that stand near his Chilterns home, John Mortimer has effortlessly weathered the tempests that have raged around his private life. Affable and avuncular, the 82-year-old bon viveur has remained a national treasure. But now the blasts are coming thick and fast from another direction, threatening the foundations of his reputation.
A new unauthorised biography of the grand old man of British literature claims that he did not write a word of Brideshead Revisited, the acclaimed television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel with which Mortimer was solely credited. The book even poses a question mark over the quality of Rumpole of the Bailey, his most popular creation.
These body blows are of a different order from Mortimer’s admission last year of fathering a love child, Ross, with the actress Wendy Craig 42 years ago. The old roué, twice married and patriarch of an extended family, never concealed the fact that he was “a ladies’ man”. Many felt a grudging admiration that a man blessed with so few physical attributes had managed to seduce so many beautiful women.
Yet even this skill assumed a new aspect last week when two former girlfriends stepped forward to confirm Mortimer’s predilection for being spanked, revealed by Graham Lord in John Mortimer: The Devil’s Advocate.
“When it came to love-making, what he most liked me to do was to smack him on the botty,” Molly Parkin, the writer, told Lord.
Shirley Ann Field, the actress, who had an affair with the married Mortimer when she was 26, said: “He had this thing about spanking and hairbrushes. I thought, God, what a strange one we’ve got here.”
Apparently Mortimer, who is no longer able to bend down to tie his shoelaces, could also hand it out. Field recalled visiting him at his London flat in Little Venice and asking his 26-year-old secretary why she seemed flushed. To which she replied: “Well, how would you feel if you had just been spanked?” It gives a new meaning to one of Mortimer’s angry utterances on the threat to foxhunting. He complained that nowadays animal rights were fetishised to the degree that “in Sweden, a man caught spanking his wife with an eel was fined heavily for cruelty to the eel”. This masochistic trait, Lord suggests, derived from Mortimer’s unhappy childhood.
The charge that Mortimer continued to take undeserved credit for Brideshead Revisited comes from several sources. He began the adaptation in 1977, but his five scripts did not meet with the approval of Derek Granger, a senior producer at Granada Television, who told Lord: “We started rewriting from scratch and discarded John’s commissioned material so that in the end John didn’t write a single word of the television series of Brideshead. I wrote it entirely with a young writer from the BBC, Martin Thompson, and Michael Lindsay-Hogg made lots of suggestions.”
Asked why he had not simply asked Mortimer to rewrite the scripts, Granger replied that the writer was too “grand” to countenance such a suggestion. “And I didn’t want to get on the wrong side of John: he can be absolutely ferocious if things go against him. He’s enormously self- admiring and can be very difficult and intimidating.”
According to Lindsay-Hogg, although Mortimer’s script had “turned the book into a nice little telly play, it had set off in the wrong direction… I don’t think we used any of John’s original script”.
Thompson confirmed: “I was simply told we weren’t using John’s scripts. We decided to be more purist. We took much more of the dialogue of Waugh.”
Speaking this weekend, Mortimer conceded that there was a degree of truth in this: “Maybe what I wrote in my scripts is not all there. Maybe.” However, he insisted that his work had not been completely abandoned: “Some of the scenes are mine. It is true nonetheless that (the director, Charles) Sturridge, in particular, put in more of the book.”
Mortimer pointed out that he had delivered five scripts as requested. Six further episodes were added later: “Changes often happen. And if Derek Granger believes I never wrote a word of what appeared on screen, why do I get the sole writing credit?” Indeed, for 24 years Mortimer has accepted praise for the virtuoso series starring Anthony Andrews, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud — a fact that “stunned” Granger. “John even got paid for the extra episodes I wrote. I was baffled by that, but Granada didn’t know what else they could do. The series cost £10m to make and with repeat royalties, John would have made a very large amount of money.”
Mortimer admits: “I was advised by my agent not to talk about it.” To be fair, Mortimer was writing prodigiously at the time, having just delivered six stories based on the Rumpole television scripts to Judith Burnley, chief fiction editor at Penguin. Burnley told Lord that Mortimer was a careless writer: “He’s a bit sloppy, as he was with his ties when we were lunching.”
A more damning judgment came from Irene Shubik, who had commissioned the Rumpole television series from Mortimer: “Frankly he couldn’t write a real plot. It was all anecdotes strung together and there was never any heart in it… And if you asked him to make any changes he’d say, ‘Yes, darling, of course’, but then he wouldn’t do it, or only half do it. He was the definitive show-off.”
All in all, it’s quite a spanking. Mortimer alludes to the practice in the first episode of Brideshead, when the Oxford undergraduate Sebastian Flyte (played by Andrews) buys a hard hairbrush to spank his teddy bear, Aloysius.
By Lord’s account, a taste for masochistic sex suggests a child deeply wounded by parental neglect. Mortimer, he claims, had a lonely, cold childhood, at odds with his own version of events.
Mortimer does admit to having had affairs with Parkin, Field, Craig, Jane McKerran, who later married Brian Walden, the former Labour MP, and Susan Elliott, wife of Denholm Elliott, the late actor. However, he could not recall an affair with Jenny Bailey, a public relations executive who is named in Lord’s book.
“This is a very silly book,” Mortimer said. “However, I’m prepared to forgive Graham Lord because it was he who uncovered the fact that I’d had a son, Ross. And Ross has brought huge happiness to our family.”
…….. August 14, 2005, www.ezilon.com/information/article_7906.shtml