Bombshell TV documentary charting the rise and fall of disgraced Cotswolds PR guru Max Clifford to be aired next week
Disgraced Cotswolds PR guru Max Clifford is the subject of a major documentary next week in which viewers will hear tapes in which he admits to being a “ringmaster” at sex parties.
Once considered one of the most influential men in Britain, Clifford’s own public image was shown as a sham when he was found guilty of historic sex crimes against young girls as young as 15.
Now the women who came forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile case have spoken publicly about how difficult it was to prove the man known as the King of Spin was nothing more than a ruthless and manipulative sex offender.
Film-makers had access to more than 30 hours of previously unheard audio recordings of Clifford and testimony from victims to paint the true picture of a the public relations master who made himself out to be a happily married man who loved nothing more than spending time in the chocolate box village of Broadway and helping fallen stars such as Jade Goody.
Angela Levin provided documentary makers with more than 100 hours of previously underheard interviews with Clifford in which he brags of orgies with celebrities and young women where he acted as ‘ringmaster’.
Speaking publicly for the first time some of Clifford’s victims tell how difficult it was to come forward to speak out about a man who was one of the first people convicted of sexually abusing young woman as a result of Operation Yewtree.
Peter Beard, executive producer, Story Films, said: “It’s only now, hearing first-hand testimony from his victims and the audio recordings we have of him, that we’re able to understand the depth of his secrets and lies.”
The documentary, Max Clifford: The Fall of a Tabloid King, will be shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday, March 1.
Timeline from Mr Untouchable to inmate
April 6, 1943 Born in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Clifford was the youngest of four children and his father was allegedly an alcoholic gambler.
After leaving school at 15 with no qualifications he took a job in a department store but says he was “bored to tears” and got fired for playing practical jokes.
At 17, he got a job as a trainee reporter and started writing a syndicated music column which led to him joining the PR team at record label EMI which represented The Beatles, Sir Cliff Richard, Diana Ross, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and the Jackson Five. He left to join his boss’ fledgling PR company.
June 1967 he wed first wife Liz Porter and daughter Louise was born in 1971.
1971/72 He was in his late 20s when he formed Max Clifford Associates and reportedly represented Frank Sinatra, Joe Cocker, Don Partridge and Marvin Gaye before going on to later sign up Muhammad Ali and Marlon Brando. Over the years clients ranged Kerry Katona to OJ Simpson and TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger.https://data.reachplc.com/210463039188860?isIframeEmbed=1
March 13, 1986 Clifford became responsible for the best known headline of all time, “Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster”. In his autobiography unwrapped Freddie claimed it was completely fabricated by Clifford and he had been a vegetarian since his teens
July 1992 By now he was being linked to stories about sex scandals, such as representing Antonia de Sancha after her affair with cabinet minister David Mellor was revealed. He allegedly made up details such as Mellor wore a Chelsea top to bed his mistress to make the stories more memorable.
Other clients included Rebecca Loos, who allegedly had an affair with David Beckham. He was said to be behind several scandals that rocked both John Major’s and Tony Blair’s governments, including headlines about John Prescott and David Blunkett and involved in the Jeffrey Archer perjury affair.
In 2002 Journalist Louis Theroux followed Clifford in the BBC Two programme When Louis Met … Max Clifford
April 8, 2003 Max’s first wife died of lung cancer and he became a patron of the Chase children’s hospice near Guildford, Surrey where he met married mum-of-one Jo and made her his personal assistant.
2004 Angela Levin interviews him for his biography. Tapes released for the programme show he admitted being unfaithful and being ringmaster at sex parties but insisted the women were “old enough to know what they were doing and thoroughly enjoyed what happened”.
2009 In the documentary Starsuckers about the rise of celebrity culture he claimed to be responsible for Simon Cowell’s success. Cowell once said hiring Clifford was the best move of his career but dropped him when he was charged.
That same year he claimed to have helped several gay premier league footballers hide their sexuality from fans.
2010 He and Jo Westward married with guests including Des O’Connor and Pauline Quirke. They were the few celebrities who spoke at his trial about how he had raised millions of pounds for charities.
October 2012 As the number of complaints against Jimmy Savile reached 300, Clifford claimed that hundreds of “big name stars” from the 1960s and 1970s had been in touch because in those days nobody “asked for anybody’s birth certificate” before having sex”.
December 6, 2012 Clifford was arrested and quizzed about two two alleged offences dating from 1977.
April 26 2013 Clifford was charged with a further eleven indecent assaults between 1966 and 1985 on four teenagers.
March 2014 During the trial at Southwark Crown Court he admitted to having four mistresses and attending sex parties while married to his first wife. His victims claimed he groomed then bullied and manipulated them so he could take advantage and then said nobody would believe them if they complained.
The court heard a letter one had sent him saying: “I wondered if you remembered, as I do, the child sexual abuse you engaged in? You took pleasure in degrading me … abusing me … and returning me to my home with a story so my parents didn’t become suspicious … so they would be fooled their daughter was in safe hands and not those of a paedophile.”
The man who boasted of controlling the media dismissed his accusers with statements such as “They’re silly little girls… they’re only in this for the money…” .
April 28, 2014 The jury didn’t believe him. He was found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault against four women and girls as young as 15 between 1977 and 1985. He was acquitted of two charges of indecent assault, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on another charge. The media descended on Broadway where Jo was staying.
Although they had a house in Surrey they were familiar figures in the Cotswolds and it was where Jo retreated during the furore that followed.https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/widgets/established/memoryLane?fixedheight&webreachnews&theme=gloucestershirelive
May 2, 2014 Daughter Louise was by her father’s side again when he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Judge Anthony Leonard said Clifford’s “contemptuous attitude” during the trial had added to his victims’ trauma and he had used his dominant character and position in the world of entertainment to convince them he was untouchable.
May 20, 2014 Jo was granted a quickie divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour and said her husband had caused her stress and heart palpitations.
November 2014 His appeal was turned down and although his daughter continued to fight to clear his name after his death, the convictions were ultimately upheld on April 2 2019.
Jo appeared in ITV’s This Morning today to talk about her marriage and said he was phoning other women on their honeymoon.
His seven-bedroom mansion in Hersham, Surrey was put on the market for £3.5 million.
December 10 2017 Clifford died at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon, three days after collapsing in the shower at Littlehey Prison, Cambridgeshire with a heart condition.
A three-day inquest in Peterborough heard he was given an ultrasound scan after complaining of shortness of breath to a prison GP and his family claimed his last few months were spent in a freezing cold cell and conditions in the jail hastened his death. His solicitor said a “second opinion” would have found the rare heart problem and allowed him to make arrangements for the last few months of his life.76659595577
March 1 2021 The 90-minute documentary will delve deep into the life of the man who painted himself as the arbiter of the nation’s morals who turned out to the the ringmaster at sex parties and admitted he did not stay faithful to his first wife for longer than three weeks at a time.
Most of his celebrity friends deserted him as soon as the scandal broke and TV presenter Richard Madeley wrote: “I do feel shocked at the profound disconnect between the kindly, generous, funny Max I thought we knew and the other Max, the cynical abuser and every girl’s worst nightmare.
“The human well of callous exploitation can sometimes be bottomless. In Max Clifford’s case it was extraordinarily well-camouflaged too.”