SCOOP: release date, cast, plot, trailer, interviews and all about the Prince Andrew Newsnight drama

SCOOP is a Netflix drama that sees Gillian Anderson play Emily Maitlis and Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew as it follows their notorious Newsnight interview.
SCOOP is a Netflix drama that sees Gillian Anderson play Emily Maitlis and Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew as it follows their notorious Newsnight interview. (Image credit: Netflix)

SCOOP on Netflix tells the extraordinary inside story of Prince Andrew’s disastrous 2019 Newsnight interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis

Starring Keeley Hawes, Rufus Sewell, Gillian Anderson and Billie Piper, the one-off drama takes us behind the scenes of the now notorious TV exchange to shine a spotlight on the women that broke through the Buckingham Palace establishment to secure the scoop of the decade.

Directed by The Crown’s Philip Martin, Scoop has been adapted from Newsnight producer Sam McAlister’s book, Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews, in which she reveals what happened behind the scenes of the interview, which resulted in the catastrophic fall from grace of The Queen’s ‘favorite' son.

During the infamous Newsnight interview in November 2019, the prince discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and sought to clear his name over accusations of sexual assault made against him by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Guiffre. But it became the nail in the coffin of his public role. Following the broadcast, Andrew was stripped of many of his patronages and forbidden from using the title His Royal Highness.

Here’s everything you need to know about the movie SCOOP on Netflix

The fabulous SCOOP poster!

The fabulous SCOOP poster!  (Image credit: Netflix)

Scoop release date

SCOOP is a one-off drama that launches worldwide on Friday April 5 2024. 

Is there a trailer SCOOP?

Yes an official SCOOP trailer and teaser trailer have arrived from Netflix so we can see what brilliant performances there are from Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell, Billie Piper and Keeley Hawes. Take a look at both below then quickly pick your jaw drop back off the floor...

SCOOP plot

The Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew in November 2019 was certainly an unforgettable 58 minutes of TV. But SCOOP tells the story of the women who made it all happen. It chronicles the whole story of the interview, from navigating Palace vetoes to breaking through to Prince Andrew’s inner circle, through the high-stakes negotiations and intensity of rehearsal to the jaw-dropping interview itself. 

The drama SCOOP focuses on the journalists whose tenacity and guts broke through the highest of ceilings right into the inner sanctum to show how they orchestrated a sensational interview with a man who had everything to lose. 

Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson) grabbed the headlines for her skillful and subtle questions, yet it was BBC producer Sam McAlister (Billie Piper) who secured the interview. She did so by nurturing a relationship with Andrew’s private secretary, Amanda Thirsk (Keeley Hawes), who was convinced the scandal-hit royal was innocent. 

When the royal eventually agreed to speak to Maitlis, she pressed him over accusations that on 10 March 2001, he’d had sex with Virgina Guiffre when she was 17 years old, after she’d been trafficked by Epstein.

Yet McAlister and Newsnight editor Esme Wren (Romola Garai) were shocked when the royal claimed her story couldn’t have been true because he’d taken his daughter to a birthday party at Pizza Express in Woking on that date. None of the staff working there at the time have since been able to recall this.

The Newsnight interview as portrayed in Scoop!

The Newsnight interview as portrayed in SCOOP, with Gillian Anderson and Rufus Sewell facing each other as Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis. (Image credit: Netflix)

Prince Andrew.

SCOOP will reveal the troubles of Prince Andrew. (Image credit: Getty)

SCOOP cast — Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew

Rufus Sewell plays the disgraced royal Prince Andrew in SCOOP — see his inteerview below. His other TV credits include The Man in the High Castle, Victoria, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and The Pale Horse.

SCOOP on Netflix sees Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew (first look above).

SCOOP on Netflix sees Rufus Sewell play Prince Andrew.  (Image credit: Netflix)

Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis
Emmy Award winner Gillian Anderson, who played British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown season 4, will star as Emily Maitlis, Newsnight’s former lead presenter who conducted the now infamous TV interview. GIllian's also previosuly starred in X Files and Great Expectations. See Gillian's interview about SCOOP below.

Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis in Scoop.

Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis in SCOOP. (Image credit: Netflix)

Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.

Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown. (Image credit: Netflix)

Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk
The Durrells star Keeley Hawes stars in SCOOP as Amanda Thirsk, the former Private Secretary to Prince Andrew. She’s a well-known British name with roles in Bodyguard, It’s a Sin and most recently ITV1’s Stonehouse, which also starred her husband, Succession star Matthew Macfadyen. 

Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk in SCOOP.

Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk in SCOOP. (Image credit: Netflix)

Billie Piper as Sam McAlister
Billie plays Sam McAlister, who negotiated and secured the bombshell booking — see our interview below. She played Rose Tyler in Doctor Who and Belle de Jour in Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She’s also starred in Penny Dreadful and I Hate Suzie and I Hate Suzie Too.

Billie Piper as Sam McAlister.

Billie Piper as Sam McAlister in SCOOP. (Image credit: Netflix)

Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie Too.

Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie Too. (Image credit: Sky UK)

Interview: Rufus Sewell on playing Prince Andrew in SCOOP

At a Netflix launch event in March 2024, Rufus Sewell revealed much more about playing Prince Andrew in SCOOP.

Rufus says: "From the moment I said yes to this, to when we started filming, it was a long process of like ‘Jesus Christ, what did I just say yes to?’ But it's coming close now and, you know, we're all proud of it.

"I hadn't watch the Newsnight interview it when it was live. But I heard the rumbles. I watched it and, you know, like everyone else, I was fascinated. And when I was sent the script, it wasn't an easy yes, but I read the script. The script was so extraordinary. I found that I kind of needed to do it, you know, when I said yes. And as I said after that, I thought, oh my God, I'm committed now, you know. But I think for the same reasons, it’s a very important story. And I think it was important reading it that this, the script itself didn't claim any more knowledge than we actually have. There wasn't a kind of - ‘it was me all along’. And it was the story of the women who it brought about was very important internally. I loved it, it was such a good read. I just wanted to be part of it.

"When I said yes to playing Prince Andrew, I actually didn't say yes until I'd worked on it on my own for a while. Which is not something you normally do before you have a part, you know? I had an instinct about playing it. You felt that there was something I thought I could bring to it, but I'm not someone who has a natural gift and mimicry. I have a good ear. I always think that with an accent. But there are certain really great actors who just have that pretty natural ability to just do it. I can't, I have to come in a different way. So I said yes because of instinct. I didn't really have a process. So I just obsessed with watching the interview and watching him and just trying to, you know, even on my own, I would just dress up, right? I won't tell you how I dress up, but what I mean is I would put on clothes that felt, you know, and I put my head out so I could believe the idea of it myself. It seemed preposterous, and when people would catch me doing it, it was really embarrassing. But I would do that and watch the interview, obsess mfor hours and hours, just trying to kind of get behind it, inside it. And I watched a lot of footage of him mwhen he was younger and him at his best, you know, because one of the temptations is to avoid anything that seems to show the good lights or, you know, it's like, it's quite a responsibility. But, you mknow, because the question of why did he do it? There were lots of people that really did believe in him. And watching him when the charm worked was quite interesting. Watching clips of him when he was younger, talking with people, you know, and actually being quite funny and amusing and good with people. And then seeing him in an environment where part of that contract is not on it. What he believes is his natural born gifts as a person that are in fact, entirely reliant on people giving him the status of Prince. Right. And without that he can't get his oxygen in the same way. But it was really fascinating. So I just basically did as much studying as I could until it started to come through. And then I ended up sitting on the first day opposite Gillian Anderson who had been doing our own version of the work, and it was astonishingly close. And that was how we started filming. We filmed the interview for two days on a loop. That was our way of starting. We just did it.

"There were definitely perspectives that you hadn't had before. He didn't claim any kind of god-like knowledge of motives, you know. But it didn't claim any of that, which I respect."

People did double takes seeing Rufus as Prince Andrew: "That actually has happened a number of times. I was doing FaceTimes with my 10-year-old, and she didn't bat a bloody eyelid. But the first four hour process was just slowly watching the change and just getting used to it layer by layer. So it feels like your own face. Yeah. And luckily they let me just go off for a few hours and just get used to the feeling of it. And the teeth as well, yes, the bottom teeth. And just getting used to it, feeling that way because anything that makes you feel false, false kind of affects you. So after a while it felt very comfortable.

"It might sound strange to people, the idea that we are doing a film about the interview because everyone's seen the interview. But what's extraordinary is the fact that it is a very gripping and entertaining story. And it's really the story of how the women at Newsnight and Emily made this and you know their journalism."

He also recently told This Morning: “For me, one of the concerns was wanting to do a truthful representation of him, which included him at his best, as well as his worst because people are a mixed bag. When I watched the interview, I was always very conscious of watching footage of him when he was younger or even in more recent times when he was with people… You know when you watch him in this film, people in his camp say ‘you know, he’s great with people’ and you can see evidence that that’s true. I think my responsibility to the film and any human that you’re playing, is to show the light and dark, and we all have both.”

Interview: Gillian Anderson on playing Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in SCOOP

At a Netflix event in March 2024, Gillian Anderson revealed more about playing Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in SCOOP. She told us: "I guess I could talk a little bit about Emily Maitlis and the opportunity to get to play her, which was a privilege, but also incredibly daunting. We all know Emily and love Emily and you know, we see her all the time. We hear her in our ears and in podcasts, and she is, you know, a formidable character, a formidable journalist, and an incredibly impressive woman. So when I was first asked to play her I said, absolutely not. No way. It's too hard. She's too amazing. And everybody knows her too well, and so I will undoubtedly fail. But here we are, and I was convinced to say yes and you know, this incredible team behind us both in Peter Moffat’s script and also Philip Martin and his incredible directing. And I really think it's a fantastic take on the interview, on Sam McCallister’s story.

"SCOOP feels very modern and fresh and propulsive, and I really believed in watching it. I really enjoyed the film and they've all done an incredible job and so has Keeley and so has Billie, and so has Romola and Rufus and I'm really proud to be a part of it."

Emily Maitlis.

The real Emily Maitlis who conducted the Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew will be played by GIllian Anderson. (Image credit: Getty)

Interview: Billie Piper on playing Sam McAlister in SCOOP

At a Netflix event in March 2024, SCOOP star Billie Piper revealed: "I watched the Newsnight interview, but I didn't watch it when it was going out live. I sort of came to it after it had been widely reported on. And even then I was watching little, you know, patches of it, and then I sat down to it and, you know, felt about the same as everybody else. So yeah, I saw that. I also followed the story at large very closely. And so I felt quite passionate about doing this job for those reasons really. It was something that piqued my interest and something I really, really cared about. And I feel like there are some unsung heroes in this story that need recognition for what they did."

"I did meet Sam McAlister. And I continued to actually, We met, we had martinis. I've never had one before. That was fun. And then we spoke a number of times afterwards and I'd asked for some videos of her walking and sitting and dancing. And she was very much involved in the chats we had in the beginning, the sort of rehearsal period, the research chats and on set as well. So yeah, we had great access to that.

"When I watched the Netflix interview, I was like, how did this happen? How did anyone sign off on this? Just all of that. I didn't know that interest was there. That was news to me. There’s a few things that I didn't know about the story, which I think you'll see when you watch it. But yeah, it's kind of amazing and alarming the more you know about it, how it sort of ended up as it did."

Who else is starring in SCOOP?

Other cast in SCOOP includes Romola Garai as producer Esme Wren, who led Newsnight at the time of the interview. Aoife Hinds is Rebecca, Gavin Spokes is Mark Harrison, Richard Goulding (The Windsors) is Stewart Maclean, Tim Bentnick is Davis, Alice Bailey Johnson is Olivia and Zach Colton is Lucas McAlister.

Romola Garai as Esme Wren in SCOOP.

Romola Garai as Esme Wren in SCOOP. (Image credit: Netflix)

Interview: Sam McAlister gives the lowdown on SCOOP and having Billie Piper play her  

At a Netflix event in 2023 Sam McAlistair told us: "It's literally insane. I mean, beyond your wildest dreams that you write a book about your experience, then you find that a movie is effectively being made about your life and you're being played by Billie Piper. This is beyond crazy. 

"Billie is amazing. She's just been so fantastic and obviously, she had to wear a wig to have hair like mine. That must have been very annoying, and I'm sure she wanted to take it off all the time. Mine is real hair by the way. She also had to wear black relentlessly — usually she's much more powerful than I am in her fashion choices.

"During that Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew my jaw dropped about 30 seconds in and it remained like that for the hour. And actually the hardest part was trying not to show any emotion. I'm a criminal defence barrister by trade. So I'm used to going into tales with people giving me slightly implausible ideas about why they may have not done crimes. But not for 35 minutes in Buckingham Palace!"

"It was a year of negotiations that Emily Maitlis and Stuart who worked on the team are involved in as well. But it's all about the sweet spot. What makes someone tick? What are their motivations? And that was my job. That was my skill set. So clearly, I found the right formula. And Prince Andrew did say yes. Which I still can't really believe."

* See the real disastrous Prince Andrew Newsnight interview in the clip below...

Anita Rani talks to Sam McAlister at recent Netflix event with both her and Billie Piper dressed as Sam pictured behind.

Anita Rani talks to Sam McAlister at a 2023 Netflix event with both Sam and Billie Piper (dressed as Sam) pictured behind. (Image credit: Nicholas Cannon)

Behind the scenes and more on SCOOP

SCOOP is produced by Hilary Salmon and Radford Neville (Luther, The Night Of, MotherFatherSon) for The Lighthouse Film & Television, with Sanjay Singhal (Bin Laden: The Road to 9/11, Trouble at Topshop) for Voltage TV. Emmy and BAFTA winner Philip Martin (The Crown, Prime Suspect, Wallander, Mo) directs the project.

Sam McAlister, played by Billie Piper in SCOOP, is the BAFTA-nominated Producer who negotiated many of the Newsnight seminal exclusives that shaped and captivated public conversation over the past decade. A trained criminal defense barrister, and ‘Booker Extraordinaire’ she has had a backstage pass to the most unforgettable journalism of our times.

Sam McAlister says: “It is beyond my wildest dreams, especially as a first-time writer, to end up working with this extraordinary cast, Netflix, and the amazing teams at The Lighthouse and Voltage. Watching Billie Piper, one of my favorite actresses, play “me” will be a pinch myself moment and I’m truly thrilled to be involved in this film.”

Scoop director Philip Martin says: "I’m thrilled to be direct this film for Netflix and, together with an extraordinary cast, to be bringing Sam McAlister’s revelatory insider’s account to the screen. Uptempo, immersive and cinematic, I want to put the audience inside the breathtaking sequence of events that led to the interview with Prince Andrew – to tell a story about a search for answers, in a world of speculation and varying recollections. It’s a film about power, privilege and differing perspectives and how, whether in glittering palaces or hi-tech newsrooms, we judge what’s true."

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.

With contributions from