Helen Fielding, author of the Bridget Jones series, shocked fans when she killed off the beloved character Mark Darcy in a landmine accident in Sudan in the new novel Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy.
George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight discovered that Fielding herself lost colleague TV producer Alan Stewart to a landmine explosion while filming the 1986 documentary Where Hunger Is A Weapon In Sudan. When she was in the red chair the author opened up to George about the day that it happened -- and how humour is a salve for pain.
"I was a journalist," said Fielding after George showed her a clip about Stewart's death. "Yes, I worked in the Sudan a lot. But that did happen. They'd actually left me behind at the border because I was a girl, which I was kind of cross about. And then they didn't come back. I knew something had happened. I was camping in the aid agency grounds and I just got up and got dressed like the Girl Guide that I am and waited. And then they came back and indeed Alan had been killed.
"So I do know about the hard things that happen in life. What fascinates me is the way that co-exists with humour. Sometimes it's black humour. I mean, I remember when I was... I sound like one of those old war veterans, 'When I was in the Sudan'... But I interviewed this refugee who gave us this really heart-rending account of their plight and why they needed money and we were all practically in tears. And then we stopped rolling. And he went, 'How did I do?'
"And I think my experience anyway of life is even when tough stuff happens people still, they get through it by making each other laugh, by finding the lightness in life."
Helen Fielding's interview with George will run in November. George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight airs weeknights at 7 pm and 11:30 pm on CBC.
This Week, Thames Television, 1986