The Daily Telegraph last week marked the 60th anniversary of ITV by asking its critics to name their favorites among the network’s programs. Granada TV’s 1981 production of Brideshead Revisited was ranked number 8:
This sumptuous adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel was obsessively faithful to its source material and it showed. Leisurely and literary, this examination of the aristocratic Marchmain family seen through the eyes of Charles Ryder …remains the benchmark for costume dramas.
Other ITV adaptations of written works ranked in the top places included The Naked Civil Servant (No. 6) and Jewel in the Crown (No. 20).
In a subsequent article, one of the Telegraph’s critics (Jasper Rees), reviewed a recent BBC effort to adapt literary works to TV in a series of 90-minute productions. This has included Lady Chatterley’s Lover, An Inspector Calls, The Go-Between and concludes tonight with Cider With Rosie, all available to stream via UK internet connection on BBC iPlayer. Now that ITV’s Downton Abbey is coming to a close, Rees asks the TV producers for more such one-off period dramas. One candidate he mentions is Waugh’s Scoop, last appearing on TV in a 1987 adaptation by William Boyd. That was an ITV production and was, as I recall, quite good of its kind. (Odd that Rees did not apparently think to vote for it in the Telegraph’s poll of ITV’s top productions.) Why not just show it as a rerun? Its worth watching if only for the opportunity to see Denholm Elliott in the role of Mr. Salter and Michael Hordern as Uncle Theodore. The scenes at Boot Magna are particularly well done.