Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones writer Helen Fielding discusses the reality of being a single 30-something woman today

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“It was hard, and I think it still is hard for girls in their 30s,”says  Bridget Jones’s Diary writer Helen Fielding.

In 1995, a fictional “thirty-something singleton” working in London’s publishing scene started penning columns for The Independent. Hilarious, relatable and constantly surrounded by small urban dramas, Bridget Jones went on to write a best-selling book series and star in a trilogy of Hollywood films.

The real woman behind our heroine was, of course, journalist and writer Helen Fielding. And now, over 25 years since the world first fell in love with Bridge, the author has discussed the perception society had of single 30-something women when writing the iconic character.

“It was at a time when the image of the single girl in her 30s hadn’t caught up with the reality of it,” Fielding reflects during an interview with Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs.

“I would still go up and see my parents and somebody would say ‘Oh, how’s your love life?’ and ‘When are we going to get your married off?’ and that sort of thing.

“I think most comedy comes out of dark things – and it was hard, and I think it still is hard for girls in their 30s.”

Bridget Jones Diary
Helen Fielding has discussed the reality of Bridget Jones on Desert Island Discs.

Fielding goes on to explain exactly how much fun she enjoyed having in her single 30s. 

“I was a single girl in London and I was having a lot of fun. I had a group of friends very much like Bridget,” she says. 

“I used to have dinners and try and cook, I had several different boyfriends, all very gorgeous. It’s amazing the number of people who lay claim to be Daniel or Mark, including Keir Starmer!”

However, according to Fielding, there are some things about Bridget Jones’s Diary that would be different if she wrote it today.

“I think the social circumstances surrounding Bridget then are different from now,” she explains. “It wouldn’t have been possible to write it in that way now – things have changed, happily.

“I took my kids to see a screening of the movie: I hadn’t seen it for years and years. And I was staggered, you couldn’t write that now: the level of sexism that Bridget was dealing with. 

“The hand on the bum, so many of the scenes, Richard Finch [saying] ‘let’s have a shot of the boobs’. In the end she just turned around and stuck it to them; it was just part and parcel of her life.

“It was quite shocking for me to see how things have changed since then.”

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Images: Getty, Universal Pictures

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…