Michael Maloney does a wonderful job playing William Boot, who although innocent to the ways of the world turns out not to be exactly stupid, as he does his best to report on a non-existent war. He is ably supported by Denholm Elliot as his editor at The Beast and Herbert Lom as a mysterious businessman who shows up in Ishmaelia just in time to help stage a counter revolution. Scoop is a rollicking ride which, although set in the 1930s, is every bit as topical in its treatment of the press as if were set today. This script captures Waugh's biting wit and acid tongue perfectly in both its depiction of the press's incompetence and the cynical manipulation of events by the unscrupulous businessman so he can secure Ishmaelia's mineral rights.
As both Scoop and A Handful Of Dust were originally shot in the 1980s, neither are up to the standards of current day productions when it comes to technical matters like sound and image quality. However these factors don't detract from the quality of the productions so they shouldn't be a deterrent to purchasing the package. Good acting, and, especially in the case of Scoop, quality script writing, overcome any technical deficiencies that you might experience.
Satire has become something of a lost art these days, so The Evelyn Waugh Collection from Acorn Media is a very timely reminder of what that genre actually entails. Unlike today's writers who seem to lack the subtlety necessary to bring it off, Waugh never descended to the level of cheap laughs in order to win his audience over, and both productions in this package live up to that standard. This is an ideal opportunity to see two works by one of the masters of satire brought to life and shouldn't be passed up by anyone who still appreciates the genuine article.