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Q: The Last King of Scotland ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: The Last King of Scotland
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: mongolia-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 08 Oct 2006 09:55 PDT
Expires: 07 Nov 2006 08:55 PST
Question ID: 771727
When I saw the movie "The Last King of Scotland" it said at the start
of the movie that it "was inspired by real events"

Who was the real person who the scottish doctor was based on?

Subject: Re: The Last King of Scotland
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 08 Oct 2006 10:49 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again Mongolia,

The film ?Last King of Scotland,? is based on the novel by Giles
Foden. The physician,  Scotsman Nicholas Garrigan is a fictional
character; however during a 1998 interview, Giles Foden said he used
conversations with Bob Astles, widely perceived to have been Amin's
closest advisor, to construct Garrigan's character.

?The Last King of Scotland is an award-winning first novel by
journalist Giles Foden. A UK film adaptation was released in the U.S.
on 27 September 2006.?

?Its fictional protagonist, Scotsman Nicholas Garrigan, relates how he
came to be the personal physician and confidante of Idi Amin, the
president by coup d'etat of Uganda from 1971-1979.?

?The author evokes the form of a memoir by inserting fictional
newspaper articles, journal entries, and authentic events.?

?During a 1998 interview with the online magazine Boldtype, Foden said
he used conversations with Bob Astles, widely perceived to have been
Amin's closest advisor, to construct Garrigan's character. As a
British soldier who worked his way into Amin's favor, Astles was much
more "proactive than Garrigan", according to Foden, but paid the price
by spending six and a half years in a Ugandan jail after Amin's fall.?


Excerpts from the interview:

? You met and interviewed Bob Astles, a man widely perceived to be
Amin's closest advisor -- what was he like, and how did he help you
shape Garrigan's character??

Giles Foden: "Major" Bob, as he was known, is a former British soldier
who inveigled himself into Amin's favour (he was much more proactive
than Garrigan) and became part of his apparatus of repression. After
Amin's fall, he was imprisoned for ten years in a Kampala jail. I
discovered that he is now living in the leafy London suburb of
Wimbledon, and managed to persuade him to talk to me. It was a
strange, even spooky occasion, going to this little house and meeting
the man the British newspapers used to call "Amin's White Rat." He had
come to believe his own version of events, and in some ways I felt
sorry for him. The weirdest part was that he had a pet magpie which
kept hopping and flapping round the room while I taped what Astles was
saying. At one point, it got up and sat on Astles's bald head and
pecked it. The Major lit a cigar; then it dumped on his shoulder. Even
though he now distances himself from the dictator, Astles seems to
live in the same fantasy world as Amin. Garrigan does this too in the
book, and that more than anything leads to his downfall: he becomes
entranced by Amin's voice, as much as anything.?

Boldtype: Giles Foden's interview

?Garrigan is loosely modeled on Bob Astles, a British WW2 veteran who
somehow became Amin's closest advisor.?

?The doctor in question, named Nicholas Garrigan, is Foden's fictional
creation, but if he is based on anyone, it is Bob Astles, a British
soldier who worked his way into Amin's favour and ultimately spent six
and-a-half years in prison once the hulking tyrant was deposed. The
differences between Astles and Garrigan are too many to mention, the
least of which being that the former was already in Uganda and married
(and working for Amin's predecessor and political enemy Milton Obote)
when Amin came to power. But whether or not you approve of Foden's
playful treatment of history, you can't deny the novel's power.?
Toronto Life

"The Last King of Scotland" is not based on a true story. It was
inspired by "true" events, which leaves more room for invention. Based
on the 1998 novel by Giles Foden, it's the story of a young Scottish
doctor who in 1971 signs up with the British Ministry of Health to
work in a remote Ugandan village and winds up living the high life in
Kampala, clutched to the turbulent bosom of Gen. Idi Amin.?

?The story is as strange and gripping as it sounds, and the suggestion
that the doctor might be real adds a not inconsiderable holy-Moses
factor. It's a bit of a letdown to discover the events depicted are
only partially factual. Amin, of course, was real.?
Calendar Live,0,471436.story

?I had spent several years writing a novel about a fictional Amin
sidekick, and in the course of research learned a lot about the public
face of "Major" Bob (Amin gave him the title): the man who journalists
loved to accuse of being Amin's "White Rat", the "second most hated
man in Uganda".

Giles Foden's novel about Idi Amin, The Last King Of Scotland

Bob Astles (born 1924) was an associate of Idi Amin, and widely
considered to have been Amin's closest advisor and his right-hand man.
Read more about him here:

Giles Foden's Novel

?In the novel, author Giles Foden created  a fictional young doctor
who becomes Amin?s trusted friend and confidante.?

?At last, he found a way past the veils of mythology surrounding Amin
and into the intimate heart of the dictator?s world ? by creating a
fictional young doctor who becomes Amin?s trusted friend and
confidante, only to discover he is trapped in a realm that grows more
violent and out of control every day.?
Emanuel Levy

?Based on the novel by Giles Foden, the film views Amin through a
fictional character, the young Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan
(gifted newcomer James McAvoy), who signs on in 1971 as Amin's
personal MD.?
Rolling Stone

"Last King of Scotland," Macdonald's first dramatic feature, is
basically a fictional story, placed against actual events,
specifically the real-life backdrop of Amin's brutal regime.

In his political tome, Foden has invented a dramatic character,
Nicholas Garrigan (played by James McAvoy of "Chronicles of Narnia"
fame), a young Scottish doctor on a Ugandan medical mission who
inadvertently becomes entangled with Amin.?
Emanuel Levy

Search terms:
"Last King of Scotland," fictional doctor OR physician 
Based on "Last King of Scotland,"
"Bob Astles" "King of Scotland"

I hope the information provided is helpful!

Best regards,
mongolia-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Very good answer bobbie which has cleared up some mystery for me.

Subject: Re: The Last King of Scotland
From: probonopublico-ga on 08 Oct 2006 21:45 PDT

It prompted me to look up Idi Amin:

As the years went on, Amin became increasingly erratic and outspoken.
He had his tunics specially lengthened so that he could wear many
World War II medals, including the Military Cross and Victoria Cross.
He granted himself a number of titles, including "King of Scotland".
In 1977, after Britain broke diplomatic relations with his regime,
Amin declared he had beaten the British and conferred on himself the
decoration of CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire). Radio Uganda then
read out the whole of his new title ("His Excellency Al-Hadji Field
Marshal Dr. Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, Life President of the
Republic of Uganda"[1]).

Well done, Mongo & Bobs!

Subject: Re: The Last King of Scotland
From: bobbie7-ga on 14 Oct 2006 15:41 PDT
Thank you very much Mongolia, for the stars and the tip!
Subject: Re: The Last King of Scotland
From: mongolia-ga on 14 Oct 2006 16:09 PDT

Many thanks for your interesting comment!

Also very sorry to hear about yur recent loss.

Subject: Re: The Last King of Scotland
From: myoarin-ga on 14 Oct 2006 16:27 PDT
Duh!  And I was thinking the question was about a Stuart, maybe a much
later pretender.  ("To the King  - over the Waters")

Ah, well, as Bryan said:  "Fascinating!"

I wonder if anyone has done a study of the strange types that
decolonization brought to power?  It could be a very interesting  - if
debatable - psychological analysis.

Anyway ...
Subject: Re: The Last King of Scotland
From: probonopublico-ga on 14 Oct 2006 21:35 PDT
Many thanks, Mongo, for your kind thoughts.

And ... Myo

What a great idea!

Let's do it, using the talented Bobs et Al for the research.

I know a GREAT publisher who would do the necessary.

Again, a case of your money and my brains and Voila!

It's a WIN WIN WIN WIN scenario, right?

That is if Al is up for it.


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