Producer Unveils Newsnight's Most Shocking Revelation from Prince Andrew Interview

Netflix unveils dramatic retelling of a pivotal royal interview.

by Zain ul Abedin
Producer Unveils Newsnight's Most Shocking Revelation from Prince Andrew Interview
© Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images

In an exclusive reveal to PEOPLE, Sam McAlister, the former BBC producer behind Prince Andrew's headline-grabbing Newsnight interview, delves into the moments that transformed the royal's image under the relentless glare of the spotlight.

McAlister's forthcoming memoir, which lays bare the intricacies of the Duke of York's 2019 interview about his ties to convicted se- offender Jeffrey Epstein, serves as the foundation for the eagerly awaited Netflix film, Scoop. McAlister recalls the surreal nature of the interview, stating, "It's rare for a subject to maintain their candor once the cameras roll, yet Prince Andrew did exactly that, escalating the interview's stakes with each answer." This candidness, particularly in response to questions about Epstein, startled both McAlister and the global audience, marking a pivotal point in the Duke's public perception.

The producer secured this monumental interview after over a year of meticulous negotiations, initially pitched around Prince Andrew's philanthropic endeavors. However, the narrative quickly shifted as Epstein re-entered the news cycle, leading to an indictment for se------ exploiting minors.

This backdrop turned what was envisioned as a minor story into a global sensation.

Scoop: Royal Revelations

Scoop's trailer hints at the dynamics of the discussion, featuring Billie Piper as McAlister, with Gillian Anderson and Rufus Sewell portraying journalist Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew, respectively.

The narrative unfolds with an unexpected meeting at Buckingham Palace, involving Andrew, his chief of staff, Amanda Thirsk, and Princess Beatrice, setting the stage for the controversial interview. The Newsnight conversation, broadcasted from Buckingham Palace's South Drawing Room, was fraught with revelations, from Andrew's denial of any recollection of meeting accuser Virginia Giuffre to his alibi of being at a Pizza Express on the alleged night of their encounter.

Despite his vehement denials and expressions of regret over his association with Epstein, the fallout was swift. Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties and was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages as legal battles loomed.

McAlister, who left the BBC in 2021, reflects on the lasting impact of the interview, emphasizing its significance in both journalism and royal history. Now a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, she aspires for the film to underscore the pivotal role of journalism in upholding democracy.

Set to premiere on Netflix, Scoop is not just a recounting of a scandalous royal interview but a testament to the power of persistent journalism and the indelible mark it leaves on society.

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