Scoop ★★★½
Netflix

Walking through Buckingham Palace after giving the horrendous 2019 interview that put an end to his public life, Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell) remarks to Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson), the BBC journalist who has just drawn him into answers both bizarre and damning, “that all went very well”. The comment is laughable, but it also illustrates Andrew’s power. His delusion is ironclad.

“That all went very well”, Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell) remarks to Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson) after the Newsnight interview that ultimately ended the prince’s public life.

“That all went very well”, Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell) remarks to Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson) after the Newsnight interview that ultimately ended the prince’s public life.Credit: Netflix

Power subtly ferments throughout this tightly executed film, which is adapted from the 2022 career memoir of Sam McAlister (Billie Piper), the news producer who secured Andrew’s sole interview in the wake of the arrest and subsequent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, who was the royal’s friend and a child sex offender. It’s also present in McAlister’s negotiations with Andrew’s private secretary, Amanda Thirsk (Keeley Hawes), the BBC’s nervousness about Buckingham Palace, and McAlister’s struggles as an outsider in her own newsroom.

Smartly observed by director Philip Martin (The Crown), Scoop is a tick-tock narrative where the outcome is known. The swift public condemnation of Andrew’s interview, where he denied claims by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, that she was trafficked to Andrew as a minor and displayed no empathy for anyone but himself, ended his public life. The drama is in the struggle and the telling detail.

Billie Piper as Sam McAlister in Scoop.

Billie Piper as Sam McAlister in Scoop.Credit: Netflix

The feature doesn’t offer a verdict on Giuffre’s accusations (Andrew settled a civil lawsuit by her in 2022 with a payment of about $22 million and no admission of liability), but it recreates the scrutiny and illustrates the approach of both sides. Sewell’s prince is a jowly man-child, constantly referring to “Mummy” and annoyed that his reputation has been damaged; he laughs at his own questionable jokes because he’s never heard an objection.

The drama is in the struggle and the telling detail.

Thirsk, you realise, is devoted to Andrew and the institution he represents, and throughout Scoop it’s women who drive the narrative. McAlister, Maitlis and senior producer Esme Wren (Romola Garai) each have their individual doubts, but have to work together. Crucially, the real stakes are never obscured – the show doesn’t negate the why. Through some unlikely paparazzi testimony, interview prep, and a series of haunted stills, the powerless teenage girls Epstein preyed on linger over the exclusive proceedings.

A chunk of the film is dedicated to the key exchanges from Andrew’s interviews, and it’s testimony to Scoop’s build-up that you don’t need reaction shots or exposition to immediately understand how shocking his answers are. From the “Pizza Express in Woking” to Andrew’s ludicrous “never sweat” condition, it’s a train wreck. The outrage is in the room. There is quiet triumph and accolades afterwards, but doubts persist: this was a rare moment of public accountability, but how many more remain unheard?

Scoop streams on Netflix.

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