A new BBC documentary will revisit the bizarre celebrity scandal that culminated in the so-called ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case last year. The one-off episode, Wagspiracy: Vardy v Rooney, comes less than a month after the Channel 4 miniseries Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama starring Michael Sheen, Natalia Tena, and Chanel Cresswell.
The documentary will look at the dark underbelly of celebrity and the tabloid press in Britain and how the two connected in the Wagatha Christie scandal. This is everything you need to know about Wagspiracy:
What is Wagspiracy about?
The documentary will explore how the secretive tabloid press, public relations teams, personal agents, and the Wags at the centre of the story created a major public scandal which was eventually resolved in court - although by that point the court of public opinion had been in session for years.
Wagspiracy goes all the way back to the 2006 World Cup and the creation of the ‘Wag’. The term refers to ‘wives and girlfriends’ of famous footballers. These Wags came to dominate the pages of the tabloid press for years, as journalists hunted for, or were freely given, salacious stories about their private lives.
The tabloids were always after more content, and an industry built entirely to serve this need was born. In some cases, Wags would speak to the press about others in their circle, leading to a culture of mistrust.
This came to a head in October 2019 when Coleen Rooney, the wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, took to Instagram to share the news that she had caught the account that she believed was leaking stories about her to The Sun. With the now infamous line ‘It’s Rebekah Vardy’s account’, Rooney set the internet on fire.
Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denied that she was behind the leaks and sued Rooney for libel in court, in what became known as the Wagatha Christie case. The documentary will hear from sources who didn’t speak at the trial, and examines the motivations of both Wags.
It paints a picture of modern celebrity, how celebrities have become dependent on the press, and how this dependency can have catastrophic consequences - the episode also explores how both women were treated online during the scandal and court case.
What was the Wagatha Christie trial?
When Rooney accused Vardy of leaking her images to the press, Vardy protested her innocence, stating in a social media post that several people other than herself had access to her Instagram account.
She added that she was currently pregnant and on holiday and now struggling to deal with the stress of these allegations. Rooney refused to apologise and in 2020 Vardy announced that she would sue Rooney for libel in court.
Last year the case came to the High Court where Vardy lost her defamation case - it was found that Rooney’s claims were ‘substantially true’. Vardy was ordered to pay 90% of Rooney’s legal costs - roughly £1.5 million. It was also found that Vardy and her agent had intentionally deleted and destroyed evidence in the case.
When is Wagspiracy on TV?
The one-off 45 minute documentary will air on BBC Three on Wednesday 25 January at 9pm. The episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.