In response to a request by booksellers W H Smith, novelist William Boyd has named Scoop one of his five favorite classic novels. This comes as no surprise since Boyd wrote the screenplay for the 1987 TV adaptation of the book. Although not as popular as some of the other adaptations of Waugh’s works, the Boot Magna scenes come across quite well, and the performances of Michael Hordern (Uncle Theodore) and Denholm Elliott (Mr Salter) were outstanding. Perhaps this is explained, at least in part, by Boyd’s own critique of the novel:
I happen to believe that Waugh’s best novels are his comedies and Scoop is a near perfect comic masterwork. It contains possibly the funniest chapter in English literature (Mr Salter’s visit to Boot Magna). The brilliant aspect of Waugh’s humour was its utter ruthlessness. He refused to console the reader and this is what makes his comedy so bracing and enduring.
Boyd’s other choices included A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark, a writer whose work was also admired and promoted by Waugh.