William Boot, RIP

The memorial service for Bill Deedes was held yesterday. Andrew O’ Hagan was there.

One night at the Hay Literary Festival, the novelist Monica Ali and I quizzed Bill about how much Evelyn Waugh had exaggerated when making up the character of William Boot, the hero of Scoop, who is said to be based on the young Bill Deedes. “Oh, quite a lot,” he said. “I wasn’t that into cleft sticks, though I did pack an absurd amount of stuff. But Waugh wasn’t such a good reporter you know. Frightfully good at other stuff, but not much use to a paper, I must say.”