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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

I was scrolling on Netflix for a quick watch to put on whilst I was doing a bit of Uni work and I saw ‘Scoop’ was trending.  I put it on and within the first couple of minutes I was gripped. 

This Netflix film is a dramatisation of Prince Andrew’s sit-down interview with Newsnight in 2019 where he is questioned about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffry Epstein. It follows the series of journalistic proceedings that took place to secure the interview. Specifically, the film focuses mainly on Sam McAlister, a BBC TV producer for Newsnight. Whilst certain aspects are elevated and emphasied for added drama, the basis of the story comes from Sam’s own memoir ‘Scoops’, in which she detailed her real-life experiences that led to the famous interview. 

Sam McAlister is played brilliantly by Billie Piper, who captures the intense determination of Sam, who stops at nothing to convince Prince Andrew to take part in the interview. Her fur-lined channel leather jacket, her hoop earrings and fiery black eye liner present Sam as someone who does not play by the conventional rules of the workplace and isn’t afraid to ‘ruffle a few feathers’ to get what she wants. Whilst the rest of her colleagues believe her ambitions to be too unrealistic, Sam does not give up, believing that she can successfully secure what will become one of the most famous TV interviews ever. 

The film highlights the struggling industry of journalism, with budget cuts and pressures putting Sam’s job on the line. Despite this, Sam continues to take risks and bold decisions, eager to uncover a story that will truly make a difference. Ultimately, this confidence and determination helps her succeed and gain recognition from her fellow colleagues. 

Rufus Sewell is unrecognisable as Prince Andrew with incredibly impressive hair, makeup and prosthetics transforming him into the royal. The film portrays Andrew as seedy, smug, and slightly egotist. A particular moment in the film that portrayed him as highly unlikeable was when he made a joke the“I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with me and Epstein…I was much better friends with Jimmy Savile.” The film also portrays Andrew’s odd obsession with stuffed animals, with one scene showing him shouting at his maid for incorrectly placing them on his bed. There’s definitely a sense of unease whenever he’s on screen.  

In contrast, Gillian Anderson portrays a sense of feministic power and authority in her role as Emily Maitlis, a journalist and presenter for the BBC who was the one to interview Prince Andrew back in 2019. Not only does Gillian Anderson look strikingly alike to Maitlis, but she also manages to recreate her tone and presence as an interviewer. As Emily and her fellow female colleagues work together, there is an underlying tone of ‘girl power’ as we see a group of independent, successful women working against man of such high authority. 

I myself recall watching the real TV interview in 2019, and this version seemed almost like a copy and paste recreation. I felt like I was watching it again for the first time, and despite knowing what was going to happen, I still found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for the tension to unravel. 

However, I felt myself bubbling with frustration at the end of the interview scene. I wanted more. I wanted him to confess. I wanted him to show remorse. But the real interview in 2019 was just like that, not necessarily a ‘Scoop’, it revealed nothing incriminating, but merely painted Prince Andrew in an unforgiving light. The fact is, there has been no hard evidence to show that the accusations against Prince Andrew are true, otherwise he would have been arrested. But something I did feel the film did not address enough was Epstein’s victims themselves, and the woman who was accusing Prince Andrew – Virginia Giuffre. 

Yet, the significance of this interview is not to be overlooked. Whilst it did not get Andrew to reveal anything explicit, it did place him under the public eye for scrutiny, not long after which he stepped down from royal duties. It was perhaps this interview that reignited discussion over Prince Andrew’s possible involvement in Epstein’s crimes. In fact, having watched this film, I found myself so interested in this topic that I then went on to watch Netflix’s ‘Jefry Epstein: Filthy Rich’.  The documentary provided detail into the crimes of Epstein and made me further question why a member of the royal family would be close friends with such a man. 

Edited by: Anna Duffell

Hey, I’m a first year Media and Communications student at Leeds University. Cant wait to start contributing!!