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Deadline (1988)

R | | Drama | TV Movie
In a small (fictional) emirate of the Persian Gulf a world-weary journalist is caught up in a coup where the Emir's son, under the influence of a political renegade, attempts to depose his ... See full summary »




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Credited cast:
Granville Jones
Lady Romy Burton
Robert McBain ...
Sandy McCulloch
Lou Rivers
Bargach Abdelrahim ...
Julian Curry ...
David Conville ...
Sir Geoffrey Burton
The Emir of Hawa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Naji Ahmed ...
Suleiman's brother
Shaun Carew
J.R.M. Chapman ...
The guest
Lou Hirsch ...
Bajji Abdel Kabir ...
Yannis Lazarides ...
Hatim (adult)


In a small (fictional) emirate of the Persian Gulf a world-weary journalist is caught up in a coup where the Emir's son, under the influence of a political renegade, attempts to depose his father - the ruling monarch. Flashbacks of the journalist's life show us how his relationships with the Emir and a beautiful young woman develop and flourish. Written by ignazia, Pacific NW

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Getting the news across
12 December 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Deadline is a BBC television film adapted from a novel by Tom Stacey. It is regarded being ahead of its time but people just forget that Islamic fundamentalism was a live issue in the 1980s especially since the Iranian revolution of the late 1970s. It was just that many gulf countries kept fundamentalism in check by either brutal repression which included exiling problematic clerics/opponents or having them jailed or killed.

The Arab Spring in the last few years was a reaction to this totalitarian regimes where some fundamentalist groups has used the situation to furnish themselves with power. In short some of the Arab people might eventually realise they have replaced one dictator with another until there is a counter-revolution.

The drama is set in Hawa, a small fictional emirate in the Persian Gulf.

John Hurt plays a burnt out, veteran reporter Granville Jones. He drinks too much and seems to have had enough with international correspondence and young bucks coming on the scene.

The film has flashbacks when a younger Jones was in love and happy in Hawa as he fell in love with Romy Burton (Imogen Stubbs.) For her he would put his career on the backburner. We also see him develop a friendship with the Emir (Roshan Seth.) The Emir even asks him about whether he should have his young son educated in Britain.

We can guess that the romance ended in tragedy as there is no Romy around the present day scenes. What does develop that the now grown up son of the Emir has taken over the in Hawa and installed a fundamentalist as Prime Minister.

Jones gets an opportunity to visit the palace and talk to the previous Emir and finds out that he has in fact been disposed and needs to get the truth out to the world. The world of the late 1980s was one without wifi, mobile phones etc. Jones needs to get to a telex machine to get the truth out as the new Emir's people are tracking communications.

The film starts of strongly and intriguingly. Hurt is in his element as the world weary drunken journalist. At the time Hurt himself was regarded as having a drink problem. He just about gets away with the flashback scenes where he is supposed to be younger and more romantic.

The two strands of the stories do merge as the tension in the drama is that Jones needs to meet the deadline to get his story out before the new Emir is recognised by the outside world. However the latter part of the film is not as strong or compelling as the opening part.

Deadline was filmed in Morocco and sort looks it but for a television film it does benefit from lush lighting.

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