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Scoop is a 1987 television film directed by Gavin Millar, adapted by William Boyd from the 1938 satirical novel Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. It was produced by Sue Birtwistle with executive producers Nick Elliott and Patrick Garland. Original music was made by Stanley Myers. The story is about a reporter sent to the fictional African state of Ishmaelia by accident.

Scoop (1987 film - VHS cover).jpg
DVD cover
Based onScoop
by Evelyn Waugh
Screenplay byWilliam Boyd
Directed byGavin Millar
StarringDenholm Elliott
Michael Hordern
Herbert Lom
Music byStanley Myers
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Nick Elliott
Patrick Garland
Producer(s)Sue Birtwistle
Production location(s)London
CinematographyRoger Pratt
Editor(s)Derek Bain
Running time120 minutes
Production company(s)London Weekend Television
DistributorITV - Independent Television
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original release
  • 26 April 1987 (1987-04-26)


In a case of mistaken identity, a naive young columnist for The Daily Beast is sent to cover a war in Ishmaelia. A confused editor, Mr. Salter (Denholm Elliott), acting on the orders of his much feared 'boss', Lord Copper (Donald Pleasence), tells William Boot (Michael Maloney) to cover the ongoing war as the correspondent for the Beast. Boot normally writes about British country life, but is too timid, and worried about losing his job for good, to say otherwise when he is ordered overseas.

Boot is soon up to his neck in intrigue. All the foreign journalists are confined to the capital of Ishmaelia, and they are not allowed to leave unless permission has been given by the Minister of Propaganda. The journalists stick together, drinking and trying to pass time, but they watch each other jealously for signs that someone may have a story to send home. However, Lord Hitchcock, the correspondent for the Daily Brute, is noticeably absent, and this sends the reporters on an insane quest into the desert in the hope of finding the sought-after 'scoop'.

The story is full of bizarre characters: an insane Swedish diplomat who goes berserk when he drinks too much absinthe, the mysterious Mr. Baldwin (Herbert Lom), and a German woman who claims she somehow or other lost her husband. The hapless William Boot appears to be completely out of his depth in the middle of all this chaos and confusion.


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