The TV dramatization of the Rebekah Vardy vs. Coleen Rooney trial is just around the corner. Exploring the Instagram age Whodunnit, the series Vardy vs. Rooney: A Courtroom Drama portrays one of the best known and most widely reported libel cases ever brought before the High Court.
The drama, which will air December 21 on Channel 4, chronicles the infamous events that happened after Rooney (Chanel Creswell) publicly claimed that Vardy (Natalia Tena) leaked stories about her The sun Newspaper.
Vardy then sued Rooney for defamation in June 2020, with the trial taking place in May 2022 over a seven-day period where the WAGs and their attorneys faced off in the small, mahogany-clad Room 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice. Vardy has strongly denied leaking fake stories, but the judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, ruled in Rooney’s favor in July.
Although the drama skips the structure of the legal case and begins in the High Court, eyewitness testimony is used to explain the events leading up to the trial. Vardy vs. Rooney reports on events up until 2019, when Rooney put on her detective hat to decipher which of the 300 followers on her private Instagram account could leak information about her to the press. Because of this investigative work, she was nicknamed “Wagatha Christie”.
In October 2019, Rooney came to the conclusion who would present her information in a suspenseful, if not mildly comical, Twitter revealed, writes: “It is ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
When court cases get to the RCJ, they’re usually much more macabre. However, Vardy vs. Rooney – essentially a dispute between the wives of two famous footballers – and the jovial comments surrounding coverage of the trial provided a slight relief to many people who enjoyed watching WAGs fight.
The script is therefore often amusing and absurd, which could indicate that the Channel 4 drama is a fiction. This becomes tangible when Vardy insists under oath that she watched Gemma Collins faceplant dancing on iceand that’s why she didn’t reply to one of her agent’s messages.
Brilliant moments like these, common throughout the two-parter, could be mistaken for the scriptwriters infusing some fictional humor into the action.
But the script for Vardy vs. Rooney taken entirely verbatim from the actual court records. It’s completely factual. At the beginning of both episodes, a disclaimer reiterates, “This is factual drama. It was created from the court transcripts and witness statements, condensed and edited for clarity.”
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In fact, the drama’s executive producer Tom Popay said The Independent of the making of Vardy vs. Rooney: “We had the transcripts fetched and when they came… they were absolutely amazing. We realized that all the Gtweets and reports from the trial had only scratched the surface.” Here’s a rundown of just how real the drama really is.
The infamous WhatsApp messages
In episode one of the two-parter, Michael Sheen, who plays Rooney’s attorney, closely investigates Vardy’s WhatsApp exchanges with her public relations agent, Caroline Watt, who did not testify at the trial. The text messages are typed on the screen and show Vardy and Watt allegedly discussing leaking stories about people Vardy is personally acquainted with The sun. The language choices Vardy and Watt made in their WhatsApp messages are interesting, and maybe a little unbelievable. They use lots of emojis, while Vardy religiously initials their messages with a kiss. “Can’t we leak a story x,” read a message Vardy sent to Watt. Later, Vardy writes “What ac*** x” to Watt. She continues, “I’ll text her x.”
For those familiar with the popular @loveofhuns Instagram account, ending messages with a slightly tongue-in-cheek kiss is textbook Hun goodbye. That makes it all the more hilarious and incredible to see Vardy and Watt’s lyrics printed on screen. And that, combined with the sight of some of the UK’s best lawyers struggling with the concept of a private Instagram account, makes the whole thing seem slightly contrived.
It’s also hard to believe Vardy texted Watt saying, “Wow [face with steam from nose emoji] this is war x,” in reference to Rooney’s claims Vardy leaked information, but yes, that really happened — and was used as evidence in court. In fact, all of the lyrics featured in the Channel 4 drama come from court evidence sourced from Vardy’s WhatsApp messages.
The language: FFS, Chipolatas
Vardy’s colloquial vocabulary comes under fire as she is cross-examined by Rooney’s attorney, played by Michael Sheen. At the time of the actual trial, it was reported that Vardy frequently began answering a question by saying, “If I’m being honest…” and Sherborne shot back, “I would hope you’re honest because you’re sitting on a witness stand.”
Many misunderstandings between Sherborne and Vardy are portrayed in the drama. For the record, Vardy has to explain what the slang term “FFS” means and ask the judge, “Can I?” before revealing that it means “for God’s sake.” That really happened too.
At the beginning of the court scene in Episode 1, Sherborne asks Vardy if she thinks it’s wrong to reveal someone’s private information. Then he brings up a 2004 News from all over the world Interview where Vardy talked about sex with Peter Andre. Sherborne cites Vardy’s use of the words “shaved” and “slobbery” and cites her comment that Andre “lasts five minutes and then falls asleep”. He then reads, “When he pulled his pants down, I couldn’t believe it, it was like a mini chipolata.” Yes, that actually happened — Vardy said in the courtroom that she had already apologized for the remarks and was at the time been very young.
David Sherborne, Rooney’s attorney
Another element of the drama that seems unlikely is the portrayal of Rooney’s attorney, David Sherborne (played by Michael Sheen). Sheen’s performance seems dramatized as he constantly taunts Vardy during his brutal cross-examination. But news reports at the trial show that Sherborne occasionally taunted Vardy, for example when he alluded the “Davey Jones” to a mobile phone that had fallen to the bottom of the North Sea.
When Sherborne says it’s a “shame” that messages between Watt and journalists who were allegedly given stories “lay in Davy Jones’ locker on the bottom of the sea,” Vardy replies, “Who is Davy Jones?” and the courtroom bursts out laughing. Davy Jones’ Locker is a metaphor for the bottom of the sea, referring to sunken ships and drowned sailors left in the depths of the ocean. And yes, this exchange really took place.
The “crying with laughter” emoji
The drama follows how Vardy had revealed information about footballer Danny Drinkwater, who was arrested for drunk driving, to her agent Watt in order to pass a story on to her The sun. As court evidence shows, Vardy Watt texted, saying, “I want to pay for this x.”
The drama shows how the couple then found out The sun had already heard the story of the arrest from a source at the police station. A text is shown from Vardy saying she is “mad I didn’t give it to you sooner”. Watt replies, “That would have been a fortune [crying with laughter emoji]“. In the drama’s trial narrative, Vardy says to the judge, “I don’t know if they’re laughing emojis or if they’re crying.” To which Sherborne replies, “OK, crying with laughter.” It’s not just very funny to watch a judge and Vardy die to interpret the meaning of an emoji, but this also happened in the actual process.
Euro 2016 seating plan
A lot went down between the WAGs at Euro 2016, according to the Channel 4 drama. First, Rooney claims that during a Euro game, Vardy shifted the seats so that she could sit behind her. An FA official, Harpreet Robertson, takes the witness stand to explain the seating plan for England’s Euro 2016 games. Yes, the seating plan was actually used as evidence.
The drama also claims Wayne Rooney asked Jamie Vardy if his wife could “calm down” and limit her media activities during Euro 2016 because it was “distracting” the England team. Apparently, Rooney was asked to do so by then-England manager Hodgson and his assistant manager Gary Neville. Again, all of this is true, with Wayne Rooney taking the stand under oath.
The Channel 4 drama touches on the lawyer’s efforts to grapple with Instagram terminology. However, during the actual trial, it was reported quite heavily that a lot of court time was taken up by the technical details of a private Instagram account or how Stories actually works.
At the actual trial, Tomilson QC (Simon Coury), who was representing Vardy at the trial, harried Rooney during cross-examination by suggesting that a picture taken on the Instagram app and uploaded directly to the Stories feature automatically go to her phone’s camera roll would be saved. But Instagram-savvy folks like Rooney know that the Save to Camera Roll feature is an optional feature. Rooney corrected Tomilson on this at trial. But aside from discussing the slang term “FFS” and the meaning of the “crying with laughter” emoji, the drama leaves out a lot of back-and-forth on social media terminology.
Rebekah Vardy’s dramatic departure
In the final episode, Vardy is seen emotionally storming out of the courtroom before the final statements are made. In actual fact, Vardy left the High Court just 30 minutes into the final day of the hearing, shortly after the closing arguments had begun.
The first episode of Vardy vs. Rooney: A Courtroom Drama will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Wednesday 21 December at 9pm. Episode two will air Thursday, December 22nd.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/vardy-rooney-wagatha-christie-channel-4-b2249317.html Vardy vs Rooney: How Honest is Channel 4’s New Courtroom Drama?