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Prince Andrew Shows His Face as Netflix’s ‘Scoop’ Recalls Scandalous Interview

Prince Andrew and a very lucky dog

The day after the release of Netflix drama Scoop, a much-hyped adaptation of how BBC Newsnight secured its newsmaking 2019 Prince Andrew interview, the Sun reports that Andrew almost found himself at the heart of another headline-making incident. The paper said that the prince almost accidentally knocked over a small black dog that ran in front of his Range Rover on Windsor’s Long Walk on Saturday. The dog had run in front of the vehicle with Andrew oblivious to its presence.

The witness said: “The Long Walk was crowded with people enjoying the warm weather. Andrew’s bodyguard saw the people frantically waving in the nick of time. Everyone was laughing when they saw who was driving the Range Rover.” The paper reports that Andrew couldn’t see the runaway pup, “but his bodyguard noticed its owner waving and told Andrew to hit the brakes.” A source said Andrew “took the kerfuffle in good humor, and laughed as the dog’s mortified owner sprinted to retrieve it.”

What is the scoop in ‘Scoop’?

The opening scene of Scoop takes place in 2010, nine years before the Newsnight interview, and focuses on the efforts of a tabloid photographer, played by Connor Swindells, to get the now-famous image of Andrew (Rufus Sewell) walking in New York City’s Central Park with his friend, the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein (Colin Wells). We watch the photographer race to try and get the perfect snap of the pair, perching on a rock, lens trained on its targets.

It was on this walk that Andrew allegedly told Epstein their friendship was over, the photograph of which would later became a well-known artefact of Andrew’s downfall—eclipsed by the disputed photograph of the prince with his arm around Virginia Roberts, then underage and being sexually trafficked by Epstein. She alleged Andrew sexually assaulted her three times as a minor; he has always denied that, and ended up paying her a rumored $12 million out of court settlement.

Emily Maitlis’ (Gillian Anderson) Newsnight interview—which is dramatized in partial sections to the word—gleaned not only Andrew’s out-loud denial, but details like his claim he didn’t sweat, and his alleged alibi of a pizza night with his daughters, and his beliefs that having sex, as a man, must be “a positive act.”

His general lack of remorse, and his speaking so highly and warmly of Epstein, and his apparent cluelessness of the severity of Epstein’s crimes, only added to the self-made car crash. A few days later he stepped back from royal duties, to be soon followed by the stripping of his regal titles. The interview was genuinely explosive, and a brilliant get.

In Scoop—which is former Newsnight talent booker Sam McAlister’s (Billie Piper) version of events based on her book Scoops—the excellent Sewell does the impossible, and makes Andrew seem sympathetic (vain, oafish, but not calculatingly villainous), while the drama majors on how McAlister did most of the work of getting the interview in the bag, while later watching others get the bright lights and plaudits for it, even if (as the drama acknowledges) the program acknowledged her work in a tweet.

Sam McAlister, left, and Billie Piper attend the world premiere of "Scoop" at The Curzon Mayfair on March 27, 2024 in London, England.

Sam McAlister, left, and Billie Piper attend the world premiere of “Scoop” at The Curzon Mayfair on March 27, 2024 in London, England.

Kate Green/Getty Images

The Sunday Times today deconstructs the story behind this story, with questions raised by Newsnight sources about whether McAlister has co-opted too much of the credit for herself.

Scoop is ultimately a workoplace drama; it says nothing new about the scandal, nor about Andrew and his alleged misdeeds, or what his chief press fixer Amanda Thirsk (Keeley Hawes), or her palace overlords, or what Queen Elizabeth (Andrew’s greatest protector), were all thinking. Instead, it is the oldest story in office politics—the unsung underling reclaiming glory so often denied to them. It has more in common with The Devil Wears Prada than The Crown.

For this, on behalf of unsung workers everywhere, McAlister deserves all the fame and attention she is receiving as a result of Scoop—if for nothing else for making what is essentially a lot of emails, and some difficult phone calls and meetings, seem as nail-biting as All The President’s Men. (Also, Gillian Anderson seems puzzlingly to have kept elements of the accent she deployed as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, while mastering Maitlis’ bob, head tilt, and physical presence.)

Right now, all parties are playing nice publicly—even if the undertone of Scoop is a determination on the part of McAlister to snatch back the lion’s share of the credit for landing the exclusive in the first place. In her version, other producers and colleagues, both senior and junior to her, play subsidiary roles to hers as chief fixer.

Juicier questions with greater dramatic potential about Prince Andrew go unasked and unanalyzed. We see McAlister scroll through tabloid headlines, and have urgent conversations with the New York photographer—but to no end. What about Andrew’s relationship with Epstein? What was said in the palace after the interview? How easily was the then-queen convinced to cut her favorite son adrift? When and how did it dawn on Andrew that the interview wasn’t such a great idea?

Emily Maitlis attends British Vogue's 2023 "Forces For Change" Party at The MAINE Mayfair on November 23, 2023 in London, England.

Emily Maitlis attends British Vogue’s 2023 “Forces For Change” Party at The MAINE Mayfair on November 23, 2023 in London, England.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Whatever, the drama about this particular drama isn’t over. Maitlis’ version of events, A Very Royal Scandal, which she is executive-producing for Amazon Prime Video, is coming out later in the year, reportedly with McAlister appearing as a character. Whether she is as central and significant as she was presented in Scoop remains to be seen—as does whether it will have anything new to say about Andrew, his alleged misdeeds, and the palace meltdown that followed, right into the present day and his efforts to curry favor once more and insert himself center stage as the cancer struggles of King Charles and Kate Middleton unfold.

The key scene in Scoop is less the interview itself than a subsequent scene of newsroom joy of seeing the show rack up lots of likes and frenetic clicks on social media. Does the real story of Andrew, Giuffre, Epstein, and his place in royal life go ignored because—for all the sweat and pizza banner headlines that Newsnight secured that day—what Andrew did or didn’t do, and where it has left his life now, remains unknown and untold?

Charles eyes autumn travel as recovery progresses

After shaking hands with 56 members of the public after last weekend’s Easter Sunday church service, rumors abound that King Charles is planning some ultra-long distance travel, with a previously scheduled trip to Australia still possible in the autumn, according to reports in the Sun and the Telegraph this week.

King Charles leaves after attending the Easter Matins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Britain March 31, 2024.

King Charles leaves after attending the Easter Matins Service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Britain March 31, 2024.

Hollie Adams/Pool/Reuters

Charles, 75, who was diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer in January for which he has been receiving treatment, is due to make a state visit to Australia with a sub-jaunt to New Zealand and Samoa, where the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) meeting is taking place. A source told the Telegraph: “It is no great mystery that the King is keen to attend CHOGM if he is able. Treatment continues and things are moving in the right direction. If he is able to go, of course he will go. Plans continue but there are no guarantees, we are still a long way off.”

The Sun reports that Charles is planning a shorter haul journey in the more immediate future with plans to spend his 19th wedding anniversary on April 9, 2005 with Queen Camilla at the Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Party’s over

Embarrassment for the Middleton family this week as it was revealed that administrators in charge of winding up their failed party-supply firm, Party Pieces, won’t make enough from selling off the company’s assets to cover their own fees. Few tears will probably be shed for insolvency experts Interpath Advisory, who, according to the The Times charged $800 per hour, as they are left holding a decidedly dud party bag.

Michael and Carole Middleton arriving at Westminster Abbey, central London, ahead of the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Saturday May 6, 2023.

Michael and Carole Middleton arriving at Westminster Abbey, central London, ahead of the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Saturday May 6, 2023.

Andrew Milligan/Pool via Reuters

The Middleton family got rid of their stake in the business a while ago so they are not liable for any further debt, but it’s a reputational headache the family could have done without. The once successful party business which Kate Middleton’s parents, Carole and Michael, established from their kitchen table in 1987 was knocked off course by the pandemic and failed to recover.

This week in royal history

April 9 is one of those dates in royal history with a double-headed significance. On this day in 2005 then-Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles at the Guildhall in Windsor, while in 2021 it was the day Prince Philip died at Windsor Castle, aged 99.

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pose outside St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, southern England, after the Service of Prayer and Dedication following their marriage, April 9, 2005.

Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pose outside St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, southern England, after the Service of Prayer and Dedication following their marriage, April 9, 2005.

Toby Melville/Reuters

Unanswered questions

What does Prince Andrew think of Scoop? After Kate Middleton’s cancer-revelation video and King Charles’ Easter Day church appearance, the royals have had an uncharacteristically quiet, drama-free week. How long will they embrace their desire for privacy-meets-invisibility?

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