‘Scoop’ Film Offers “Fresh Autopsy” of Infamous 2019 Prince Andrew BBC Interview

Prince Andrew, Duke of York at the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in 2023. Inset: Emily Maitlis, the journalist who interviewed Prince Andrew about his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2019. Photos: Getty Images

“I expected a train wreck.” That was how one royal correspondent imagined the 2019 Prince Andrew interview on BBC’s Newsnight would play out – considering the Queen’s scandal-plagued son was going to field questions about his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. “[But] that was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion-level bad.” 

That infamous TV sit-down and its aftermath – Andrew was forced to step back from public duties a few days later, while also being stripped of his military roles and the use of his HRH title – is getting a fresh autopsy, via the new Netflix film, Scoop, featuring Rufus Sewell as the prince and Gillian Anderson as BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis. It’s a biopic that effectively unfolds like a journalism procedural: the high-stakes negotiations to secure the one on one; the intense rehearsal process; and the jaw-dropping interview itself. The result is a tantalizing peek into the inner workings of the Palace and the BBC, twin bastions of the British establishment.

Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Gillian Anderson as journalist Emily Maitlis in the jaw-dropping royal interview at the heart of Scoop. Photo: Peter Mountain/Netflix


Scoop is the latest entry in a burgeoning “inspired by true events” subgenre, in which bombshell television interviews resurface as dramatized entertainment. (In fact, Amazon Prime is also planning a limited series based on the same TV event.) An acclaimed precursor would be Peter Morgan’s award-winning-play-turned-Oscar-nominated-film Frost/Nixon, which explored a peculiar post-Watergate event: the nearly 30-hour face to face between disgraced former president Richard Nixon and British talk-show host David Frost. Whittled down to four 90-minute instalments, the 1977 interrogation was watched by 45 million Americans, and as the 2008 movie illustrates, came closest to an admission of guilt from Nixon.


Morgan, of course, went on to create Netflix juggernaut The Crown, which had a field day digging up old interviews gone wrong – essentially launching a royal subgenre within the subgenre. (The fact that Morgan cast his on again-off again love Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown and then she takes the role of Prince Andrew’s interrogator in Scoop feels delightfully labyrinthine.) In season four, the series recreated Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s 1981 fairytale engagement announcement, where a journalist gushed, “You both look very much in love.” As Diana beamed, Charles deadpanned, “Whatever in love means.” Four little words spinning a whole cautionary tale of romantic misadventure. 

Thirteen years – and one Crown season later – Charles and Di were embroiled in a Cold War, launching missiles at each other through the media. Charles granted an exclusive to ITV broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby and admitted to being unfaithful. Soon after, Diana opened up to BBC journalist Martin Bashir about her own infidelity, mental health struggles and how Charles and Camilla made her feel like there were “three people in this marriage.” 

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC, 1995. Photo: Press Association/Canadian Press


The watercooler event hurt Diana’s relationships with her son, Prince William, other Royal Family members and high-society friends. And the proof that Bashir used falsified documents and “deceitful methods” to secure her cooperation only came to light long after she died.

By that time, he had used his connection to the princess to manipulate another “royal” – King of Pop Michael Jackson – into sitting down for his own train-wreck interview.

Scoop premieres on Netflix on April 5.


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