It was hard to keep a poker face during Andrew Newsnight interview – producer

The producer who secured the infamous Newsnight interview with the Duke of York has said “it was hard to keep a poker face” while Andrew was speaking.

The story of how Sam McAlister secured the interview about Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is told in the new Netflix film Scoop, based on her memoir.

McAlister is played by Billie Piper, while Andrew is played by Rufus Sewell and interviewer Emily Maitlis is played by Gillian Anderson.

World premiere of Scoop – London
Sam McAlister (left) and Billie Piper attend the world premiere of Scoop (Ian West/PA)

“I had two parts of my brain. I’m an ex-criminal defence barrister, so my lawyer brain was going ‘OMG the prosecution have won the lottery here.’

“Because if those statements were false, they were very easy to disprove.

“And my journalist brain is going ‘OMG we’ve won the lottery here.’

“So, really, it was quite hard to keep a poker face for 50 minutes of that, with those kinds of answers.

“I was basically looking at the floor a lot, trying not to make eye contact.

“And it really was an extraordinary experience to hear this avalanche of answers.”

Scoop on Netflix
Rufus Sewell as the Duke of York, Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis and Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk in Scoop (Peter Mountain/Netflix/PA)

Maitlis, who left Newsnight to host The News Agents podcast with former BBC journalists Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall, is an executive producer on the production.

McAlister described the other version as “complementary” rather than a rival, adding: “It’s fantastic.

“Obviously this movie is told from my perspective, inevitably, because it’s from my book, and Emily’s will be from her perspective.

“It’s great there’s so much interest and I’m so sorry to disappoint – I know everyone loves a scrap between women – but no, (there is) absolutely none whatsoever.

“I wish her nothing but happiness and success and I’m sure she feels the same about me.

“I’ve never felt jealousy or rivalry in my entire life.”

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