Scandal is a 1989 British dramatic film that tells a fictionalized story based on the retelling of the Profumo Affair from the 1987 book Honeytrap by Anthony Summers. The Profumo Affair was a real controversial affair in 1963 named after John Profumo, one of two government officials that kept the same showgirl as a mistress at the same time. The showgirl's affair with a Russian official led to scandal but minimal repercussions when the truth was discovered, but when the secret was revealed of her affair with the British cabinet minister of War, the truth led to the upheaval of the lives of many prominent figures of the British government. Among other figures whose careers were tarnished by the scandal, Profumo was forced to resign from his position because of his mistress's affair with the Russian official, who unbeknownst to Profumo, was allegedly a Soviet spy.
The eighteen-year-old showgirl at the center of the Profumo Affair was swept into the political sphere by one of her clients while she was still a teenager. This man, an English osteopath, was enraptured by her, inviting her to live at his house and become his mentee. The osteopath is named Stephen Ward in the film and played by British actor John Hurt. The showgirl is named Christine Keeler in the film and played by British actress Joanne Whalley. Keeler's friend Mandy Rice-Davies is played by American Actress Bridget Fonda. Ward introduces Keeler to his friends, most of whom are in the Conservative Party in government positions.
This process of discovering beautiful but poor girls and grooming them to acceptable standards for high-ranking government officials allowed Ward to become involved in many prominent circles and gain the companionship of the wealthy and powerful. Ward's mistake, though, was introducing Keeler to both a Russian military attaché and Profumo at the same time. This mistake led Ward to commit suicide, his life the most valuable thing lost in the scandal.