Disgraced poet Ted Wallace is summoned to his friend's country manor to investigate a series of unexplained miracles.


John Jencks


Stephen Fry (based on the novel by), Blanche McIntyre | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Allam ... Ted Wallace
Tim Charles ... Saturninus
Rod Glenn ... Bassianus
Amanda Holt Amanda Holt ... Beatrice Quiet
Amy Marchant Amy Marchant ... Nancy Chunkle
Adrian Bouchet ... Marcus Andronicus
Simon Markey ... Ally Pecher
Claire Lacey Claire Lacey ... Anita Hare
Andrew Alexander Andrew Alexander ... Matthew Lake
Russell Tovey ... Rupert Keynes
Paul Bown Paul Bown ... Roddy (as Paul Brown)
Emily Berrington ... Jane Swann
Dean Ridge ... Simon Logan
Thaila Zucchi Thaila Zucchi ... Mrs. Vance
Fiona Shaw ... Anne Logan


A country manor mystery that's actually a deliciously wicked comedy of manners, The Hippopotamus is a rollicking adaptation of the best-selling novel by Stephen Fry. It centers on a lapsed poet, failed drama critic, redundant husband and hard-working drunk, Ted Wallace (the mellifluously voiced Roger Allam in a rare starring role). Fired from his newspaper job, Ted leaps at the chance to drown his sorrows at his old friend's country estate, Swafford Hall. A series of spiritual healings have recently put the household in a tizzy. The purported miracle worker is his hosts' teenage son, Ted's godson, David (Tommy Knight). Lord and Lady Logan are set on sharing their boy's "gift" with the world, blissfully unaware that his "laying on of hands" trick involves, well, an emphasis on "laying." At odds with a colorful party of fellow guests only too ready to swallow anything they're told, Ted sets out to prove the miracles are a hoax and save the young man from a lifetime of embarrassment.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A beast of a comedy.




Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


Roger Allam and Sir John Standing appeared in V for Vendetta (2005) and Game of Thrones (2011). See more »


[first lines]
Ted Wallace: [narrating] T. S. Eliot said that the purpose of literature was to turn blood into ink. Well, I tried that. I published five collections of poetry in eight years and I bled like a hemophiliac. Then, somewhere along the way, the blood finally clotted. Over time, the scab became a scar, and now I can scarcely feel the wound. All the arteries and veins are dried out. I no longer turn blood into ink. These days, I turn whiskey into journalism. I haven't written a poem since 1987.
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Tasty Numbness
Written by Antonio Sanchez and Dario Boente(I)
Performed by Antonio Sanchez and Dario Boente (I)
Piano by Dario Boente
© Published by Greedy Silence Music* & Dario Boente Music (ASCAP)
-Administered by Kobalt Music Publishing Limited
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User Reviews

Won't blow your mind but is perfectly formed
16 May 2018 | by thekarmicnomadSee all my reviews

A drunk, washed-up poet is hired to solve a family mystery.

The main character is a highly literate pompous old fellow struggling with his own existence. A lot of the comedy comes from him insulting people using very long words, which I found very amusing.

There is not a lot to this movie. Don't expect dramatic plot twists, edge of the seat action, moving performances or fire works of any kind. But this film achieves what it sets out to do perfectly!

This film is gentle, interesting, funny and quite refreshing.

This is definitely a Sunday afternoon watch, but for that time slot it is perfect! Production, acting, script are all exceptional!

This film hasn't tried to reach too far and it pays off dividends.

Watch this after your Sunday roast with a drink for a perfect afternoon.

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Release Date:

1 August 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hippopotamus See more »


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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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