By Dominic Ponsford
Spectator theatre critic Toby Young was this week confident he would
not be sacked from his job at the weekly, despite publicly ridiculing
his publisher and editor in sell-out play Who’s The Daddy?.
The farce, which opened this week at the King’s Head Theatre in
Islington, has been playing to packed houses and is based on last
year’s extra-marital “summer of love” at The Spectator: publisher
Kimberly Fortier’s affair with then home secretary David Blunkett;
editor Boris Johnson’s affair with columnist Petronella Wyatt; and
associate editor Rod Liddle’s affair with secretary Alicia Monckton.
and fellow Spectator critic Lloyd Evans portray Fortier as a scheming,
amoral networker sexually aroused by power, Johnson as a bumbling
buffoon who shouts out rugby terminology as he makes love in broom
cupboards with the staff and Liddle as a louche, drunken, over-sexed
Young told Press Gazette: “The play is based on
information that is already in the public domain. The characters are
based on real people but obviously they are grotesque caricatures. It’s
loosely based on the things that happened, but beyond that entirely
Young said Johnson has been fairly “sanguine” about
the play, adding: “He hasn’t publicly condemned it in any way and just
decided he’s going to publicly keep a dignified silence about it.”
asked whether he feared losing his job over the public ridicule of his
employer, Young said: “I think it would be very out of character for
the editor of The Spectator to sack a member of staff for sending up
Fortier, who is on maternity leave, has not yet given her views on her portrayal in the play.
is the one character from the play to make his feelings known,
describing it in The Sunday Times as a “witless amalgam of knob jokes,
bum jokes, tit jokes, single entendres, buggeries and blow jobs”.
also made a pointed reference to the fact that Evans and Lloyd were
among the few Spectator staff excluded from last year’s “sexual
Young responded: “I’d certainly love to have Rod
Liddle’s sex life, but I’m not sure even with the vast quantities of
Viagra he takes on a daily basis I’d be able to keep up that pace.”