Entertainment

Gillian Anderson to star in Netflix film about Andrew’s Newsnight interview

The Crown actress will play BBC presenter Emily Maitlis as Rufus Sewell takes on the role as the Duke of York in Scoop.
The Crown actress will play BBC presenter Emily Maitlis as Rufus Sewell takes on the role as the Duke of York in Scoop. The Crown actress will play BBC presenter Emily Maitlis as Rufus Sewell takes on the role as the Duke of York in Scoop.

Gillian Anderson and Rufus Sewell are to star in new drama Scoop, based on the interview the Duke of York gave to BBC’s Newsnight.

Netflix said the film will give viewers the “inside track” on how Andrew came to be grilled by presenter Emily Maitlis over his relationship with late billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in November 2019.

Following the interview and the furore over his friendship with Epstein, the duke stepped down from public life.

British Independent Film Awards 2012 – London
British Independent Film Awards 2012 – London Rufus Sewell will star as the Duke of York in Scoop (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sex Education star Anderson, 54, who won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Television Award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Netflix series The Crown, will play Maitlis.

Andrew will be played by Sewell, 55, who recently starred in The Man In The High Castle and The Pale Horse.

The forthcoming film is based on former Newsnight producer Sam McAlister’s memoir Scoops: The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews From Prince Andrew To Steven Seagal.

Netflix said it will look at “navigating Palace vetoes, to breaking through to Prince Andrew’s inner circle, the high-stakes negotiations and intensity of rehearsal – to the jaw-dropping interview itself”.

The Fashion Awards 2021 – London
The Fashion Awards 2021 – London Billie Piper portrays former Newsnight producer Sam McAlister (Ian West/PA)

The film will also spotlight “the journalists whose tenacity and guts broke through the highest of ceilings”.

McAlister, who spent a year securing the sit-down on-camera meeting with Andrew and left the BBC in July 2021, said: “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.”

She added that when she watches “one” of her favourite actresses, Billie Piper, known for Doctor Who and I Hate Suzie, play her she will have a “pinch-myself” moment.

Keeley Hawes, who starred in It’s A Sin and recently Stonehouse, also stars as Amanda Thirsk, former private secretary to the duke.

During the interview, which went on to win the Scoop of the Year at the Royal Television Society Awards in 2020, the duke denied claims that he had sex with Virginia Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein, who died in August 2019, on three separate occasions, including when she was 17 – still a minor under US law.

She said the duke sweated heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp in one alleged encounter.

However, Andrew told Maitlis he had a medical condition, at the time, caused by his service in the Falklands War, which meant he did not sweat, and that he had no recollection of ever meeting Ms Giuffre.

He said he spent the day at Pizza Express in Woking for a party with one of his daughters.

Last year, the duke settled his US sexual assault case out of court, although the agreement was not an admission of guilt and he has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

Up Next event
Up Next event Keeley Hawes plays as Amanda Thirsk, former private secretary to the Duke of York (Ian West/PA)

The Crown’s Philip Martin, who directs Scoop, said: “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.”

The interview was previously covered by Channel 4’s Prince Andrew: The Musical, in which Maitlis was played by actress and comedian Emma Sidi and Andrew was played by Kieran Hodgson.

Maitlis, who joined the BBC in 2001, presented Newsnight from 2006 until last year when she left the broadcaster for rival media group Global where she presents The News Agents podcast with journalists Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall.