Scoop: How does the Netflix cast measure up to the real-life counterparts?

Scoop: Official trailer

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Newsnight viewers watched aghast in November 2019 as Prince Andrew gave a car crash interview to the show. He had agreed to speak to journalist Emily Maitlis to answer questions about his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Unfortunately for Andrew, instead of putting the matter to bed, it became one of the most talked about TV moments of the year. The cringeworthy interview became widely parodied and mocked.

His claim he didn’t sweat became the subject of countless memes and GIFs. While it was undoubtedly humiliating for the prince, the interview was the stuff of award-winning dreams.

Getting to that point had taken plenty of negotiation and back and forth by producers. As the title of the movie based around the interview suggests it was indeed a Scoop.

As the eagerly awaited film finally hits Netflix Express.co.uk compares the real-life players to their onscreen counterparts.

Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis

Giiiian Anderson plays Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis int he film (Image: Getty/BBC)

X-Files legend Gillian Anderson has the undertaking of playing Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis in the film.

Tasked with conducting the chat Emily won the Royal Television Society’s 2020 News Presenter of the Year award for her work on the interview.

Gillian is no stranger to playing real-life characters having portrayed Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.

This is the first time she has played someone who is still living though.

She perfectly captures Emily’s mannerisms and accent and is eerily spot-on in the interview scenes.

Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew

Rufus Sewell Prince Andrew spilt image

Rufus Sewell was tasked with playing Prince Andrew in Scoop (Image: Getty)

Rufus Swell is four years younger now than Andrew was when he did the interview but he looks far younger than the prince in real life.

Best known for his work in films such as A Knight’s Tale and The Holiday, he was most recently seen in Netflix’s The Diplomat.

It took layers of prosthetics to transform him into the Duke of York for Scoop and the resemblance is uncanny.

While he doesn’t quite get the voice spot on, the mannerisms are uncanny and at times you have to do a double take.

Billie Piper as Sam McAlister

Billie Piper Sam McAlister head and shoulders split image

Billie Piper plays Sam McAlister in Scoop (Image: Getty)

Outside of media circles, many people probably hadn’t heard of Sam McAlister who was the producer who landed the interview for Newsnight.

In its wake, she wrote an autobiographical book, titled Scoops and the Netflix movie is based on her recollections of the Prince Andrew broadcast.

She is played by Billie Piper in the flick and her pivotal role in landing the TV moment of the year – if not the decade is really highlighted.

The fact that Sam is naturally such a larger-than-life character allows Billie to steal the show in the film, which is no mean feat with such an impressive ensemble cast.

Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk

Keeley Hawes Amanda Thirsk close up split image

Keeley Hawes plays Prince Andrew’s former private secretary Amanda Thirsk (Image: Getty)

After Andrew the person who came out of the interview debacle worst was possibly his then private secretary Amanda Thirsk.

The mum of three was key in persuading the prince to talk to Newsnight.

Unsurprisingly, she was asked to step down following the backlash to the broadcast.

Ashes to Ashes star Keeley Hawes portrays her in Scoop as she is charmed by Billie Piper’s Sam McAlister who assures her that the interview will do wonders for Andrew’s public image.

Romola Garai as Esme Wren

Romola Garai Esme Wren close up split image

Romola Garai plays Newsnight editor Esme Wren in the film (Image: Getty)

Esme Wren was head of politics and business at Sky News before she landed the role of BBC Newsnight editor.

She spent three years running Newsnight and gave it an exclusively female lineup of Emily Maitlis, Kirsty Wark and Emma Barnett.

Following the Prince Andrew interview, she left to head up Channel 4 news.

She is portrayed by Atonement star Romola Garai in Scoop.

 

Charity Wakefield as Princess Beatrice

Charity Wakefield Princess Beatrice head and shoulders split image

Charity Wakefield plays Princess Beatrice in Scoop (Image: Getty)

The character of Beatrice only appears briefly in Scoop as she sits in on a meeting he has with the Newsnight team.

In a 2022 interview with the Royally Obsessed podcast, Sam McAlister said: “It was a next-level curveball. I’m a meticulous researcher and negotiation seems a simple thing, but it really isn’t.

“[It’s] a million little calibrations, but not one of those calibrations prepared me for that moment when he came around the corner and he goes: ‘Oh, by the way, I hope you don’t mind — I brought someone with me.’ And I thought: ‘Lawyer, it’s all over.’ Instead, around the corner, Princess Beatrice.”

According to the producer, the princess came across as “intelligent”, asked “good, sensible questions” and took notes throughout the conversation.

The mum of one is portrayed in Scoop by Wolf Hall and The Great star Charity Wakefield.

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