“Waugh, Auberon, Dog Lovers Party…”

In the final episode last night on BBC1 of A Very English Scandal, Auberon Waugh does make a very brief appearance, as promised by the excellent background article in Radio Times. This occurs in a re-enactment of the announcement of the results in the 1979 general election in which Auberon on the Dog Lovers Party ticket, ran aganst Jeremy Thorpe, Liberal Party incumbent in the North Devon constituency. The Returning Officer in this scene is naming out the candidates and their vote tallies, and after the winning Conservative candidate and Thorpe comes to: “Waugh, Auberon, Dog Lovers Party, 79 votes.” On the stage behind her, there is an actor looking superficially very much like Auberon and, in case you couldn’t guess, looking very pleased with himself. This despite the fact that he must have lost his deposit. If you missed this (as well you might have), queue the BBC iPlayer video stream to 19:20 and watch carefully. Actor Chris Carrico did a fine job with this part in the limited time available, although there is no screen credit given for this performance.

In the documentary on BBC4, the same election returns appear from actual news footage taken at the time. Here the scene is cut, however, after Thorpe’s vote is announced, and Auberon does not appear. Nor does Auberon get mentioned in the documentary itself for having possibly saved the news story of Rinka’s death from oblivion by reporting it and the connection to Jeremy Thorpe in his Private Eye Diaries. Although, to be fair, the Liberal Party politicians involved in the scandal seem to be so hopelessly incompetent that some one else would no doubt have eventually sniffed this story out even without Auberon’s help. The Radio Times background article linked above makes a good job of summarizing Auberon’s role in the scandal.

It is perhaps some consolation that Auberon is mentioned prominently in another story. This is a profile by Lucy Handley on CNBCs website of journalist and celebrity Tina Brown’s career. According to this report, Auberon may have provided her first break into Fleet Street:

Before Brown graduated [from Oxford], she had already been commissioned by editors in Fleet Street, London’s newspaper hub at the time. She had befriended Oxford alumnus Auberon Waugh (son of novelist Evelyn Waugh), and interviewed him for university magazine The Isis. Waugh, writer at satirical magazine Private Eye, would take her to lunch with his contacts, often British politicians, “people who would sort of be funny about the establishment.”… Brown landed a column in British political magazine The New Statesman and got the attention of Harry Evans, then the editor of The Sunday Times…

And the rest, as they say, is history.

UPDATE (9 June 2018): The part of Auberon Waugh in A Very English Scandal was played by Chris Carrico according to IMDB. Thanks to blogger Nige on his weblog Nigeness for pointing this out.

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