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Bridget's back and Darcy's dead

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Spoiler alert. Darcy is dead. Cue several million men punching the air in exultation after having to suffer the chick-flick slop of two Bridget Jones films. They may have wished the entire cast of characters dead, but Bridget's love interest is a start.

The sort of people who like this sort of thing (and they may not be entirely female but, who are we kidding, they are) are distraught by the revelation that Bridget will return sans-Darcy. It's a necessary device on the part of writer Helen Fielding, who realises that her best (only?) gags about her heroine revolved around her being a neurotic singleton.

Extracts from her new book, Mad About The Boy, serialised in the Sunday Times, reveal that Darcy is now officially dead, although the character never had much life in the first place. Bridget now has two kids and a 29 year-old lover called Roxster, but, as ever, is full of shallow angst. "Has it really been five years?" she writes, "Oh Mark, Mark. What am I doing? Why did I start all this? Why didn't I just stay as I was? Sad, lonely, workless, sexless but at least a mother, a widow, and faithful to their father."

Fielding's Bridget reflected the zeitgeist of a certain kind of middle-class metropolitan female in the 90s. Now the writer is chasing another stereotype: the fiftysomething with a toy boy. Or, as her publisher's blurb puts it, she "gives a voice to the more mature social media-obsessed concerns of the women who grew up with Bridget".

Fielding's creation spawned a legion of imitators, propped up an ailing publishing industry and kicked a little more dirt over the coffin of feminism. Somehow it was OK to identify with a woman obsessed by diets, men and wine intake. Perhaps the braver decision would have been for Fielding to have killed off Bridget, perhaps getting Mark Darcy to turn nasty and smother her with a Christmas jumper or brain her with a Chardonnay bottle, after one inanity too many.

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