‘Scoop’ 2024 Ending Explained & Film Summary: What Was The Aftermath Of The BBC Interview?


“I don’t sweat”—this was one of the many controversial (meme-worthy) statements made by the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, during his interview with Emily Maitlis for the Newsnight segment of The BBC as he attempted to prove his innocence on television with regards to his involvement with a minor. The almost fifty-minute interview is an example of how one digs their own grave with the whole world watching. One of Netflix’s most anticipated films this year, Scoop, is all about how the BBC landed the interview. Television producer Sam McAlister did not have her hopes high during her year-long mail exchange with Prince Andrew’s top aide, Amanda Thirsk. McAlister’s persistence and interest in telling a story that mattered helped convince the royalty for an interview.

Spoiler Alert

How did Sam convince Amanda Thirsk to consider her proposition?

Prince Andrew’s friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a matter of speculation, but it was only after the 2010 photograph of him and Epstein taking a stroll in Central Park, New York, went viral that the real scandal began. Epstein was then a convicted criminal, and Prince Andrew, popularly known as the party prince, casually meeting him raised eyebrows. In December 2014, Virginia Roberts filed a civil case against Prince Andrew, accusing him of participating in sexual activities with a minor. But even then, there was no direct statement made by the prince to the public acknowledging his friendship with Epstein. Nine years had passed since the photograph was published, and the prince did his best to distance himself from the scandal, but every time his name was brought up, the public was reminded of the Epstein case. Sam received an invitation from the royal palace to attend the launch of Prince Andrew’s passion project, Pitch@Palace. Sam did not care about the project, but the prospect of getting to interview the prince excited her, and she decided to keep in touch with Amanda Thirsk. She repeatedly encouraged Thirsk to convince the prince to tell his side of the story to clear the air, especially with him starting a project involving youngsters.

In Scoop, we witness the admiration that Amanda Thirsk had for the flamboyant prince. She was convinced that the rumors were false, and she believed every word Prince Andrew said. A new advisor, Jason, was employed to ensure that the prince’s reputation was rebuilt. He suggested that they invite journalists to spend time with the prince off the record to help bring out a softer, friendlier side of Prince Andrew to the audience. Sam negotiated with Amanda to convince her to allow her team to interview the prince on record, with every possible question on the table. Sam was aware that she was asking for a lot, and she did not have high hopes. In the meantime, she contacted the photographer who had taken Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew’s picture at Central Park, Jae Donnelly. She wanted a reliable source for updates and information, and Jae confirmed that the friendship between Epstein and the prince was worth digging deep into. Even after being convicted, Epstein continued with his sex trafficking business, and Jae had pictures of several minors entering and leaving a building that belonged to Epstein. With the BBC sacking journalists, Sam believed that the only way to protect her job was by getting that interview with the prince. She felt hopeful when she received a message from Amanda asking her to meet her at Buckingham Palace. Excited and nervous, Sam tried to persuade Amanda for the interview.  

Why did Prince Andrew agree to the interview?

Sam received a tip from Jae suggesting that Jeffrey Epstein would be arrested by the FBI the minute he landed on a private airfield in Teterboro. This was it, and Sam immediately knew that there could have been no better time to convince the prince than now. She reached Amanda’s place with a sense of urgency, requesting that she consider the interview offer now that the prince’s involvement with Epstein would be back in discussion. She begged Amanda to give her team an hour with Prince Andrew to help him make up his mind. Amanda decided to take matters into her own hands. She was proud of the role she was entrusted with, and she had started to see herself as a part of the royal family. She wanted to be the one making the last call for the prince, not Jason. Amanda ultimately suggested the prince consider the television interview. She was so convinced that Prince Andrew was innocent that she did not fear him getting caught in his web of lies. Jason was appalled by the move, which he predicted would lead to a catastrophic disaster, so he chose to resign before things got any worse.

Sam, Emily, and Stewart were invited to the palace to meet the prince, and the thrill of it kept everyone on their toes. This was the only chance they had to convince the prince for an interview, and messing it up was simply not an option. Emily established that the prince’s friendship with Epstein would be the focus of the interview. Prince Andrew was not entirely sure about the proposal, but Sam quite straightforwardly suggested that the interview was absolutely necessary for him to rebuild his “brand.” In Scoop, it is established that the Queen showed support for Prince Andrew’s decision to partake in the interview, and it was only after discussing it with her that Sam was informed that Prince Andrew was ready.

How did Emily plan the interview?

Emily and her team decided that they must simply present the hard facts during the interview. Prince Andrew had repeatedly tried to establish that he was primarily friends with Ghislaine Maxwell, and it was because she was dating Jeffrey Epstein that they often ended up in the same circles. Maybe it was a stance taken to distance himself from Epstein, but as we know now, in 2021, Maxwell was found guilty of child sex trafficking, and she very well knew what Epstein was up to. The prince denied having any idea what Jeffrey Epstein was involved in, but the items proudly displayed in Epstein’s house suggested that anyone who entered the property would be well aware of the kind of man Jeffrey Epstein was. Before the interview, Emily was a little worried about the stance that the prince would take. She did not want the opportunity to hold a person accountable to go to waste, and she tried to prepare herself for every scenario. The idea was to frame the questions in a way where he would have no escape. Sam had only one suggestion: she asked Emily to allow Prince Andrew the space to speak. During the interview, Emily gives the prince time to feel comfortable and at ease before posing the difficult questions. She was careful with her tone, but at the same time, she was fierce in her choice of words. To their surprise, the prince dug his own grave.

In an interview, Sam McAlister mentioned that they had heard of the ‘no sweat’ and ‘pizza express Woking’ comments during the negotiation, but she never anticipated that he would repeat those explanations on television. McAlister described the interview as a masterclass in destroying one’s life. One after the other, Prince Andrew suggested the strangest of reasons why the allegations against him were false. He neither accepted nor denied the photograph of him and Virginia Roberts; he tried to be diplomatic and stated that he simply could not recall the picture ever being taken. He did not remember being upstairs (where the photograph was taken), and he did not recall meeting Virginia Roberts. He hoped for the audience to believe him when he stated that in the picture he was wearing traveling clothes, and he never wore those when he was in the country. Every allegation that he categorically denied, citing the strangest of reasons, instantly resulted in memes and headlines. The Duke felt good about how the interview went (before it aired, of course!), and he went on to show Emily and her team around Buckingham Palace.

What was the aftermath of the BBC interview?

It was not just the lies that resulted in the outrage, but Prince Andrew’s sheer lack of empathy for the victims became glaringly obvious during the interview. There were moments when Emily constructed the questions in a way where he could have fit in an apology (as empty as it would have been), but not for once did he apologize. This proved that he had no remorse for what had transpired and that he did not mind maintaining a friendly relationship with a sex offender. He even goes on to call himself “too honorable” a man for traveling to New York to apparently break friendship with the convicted criminal. During the interview, he admitted that he regretted seeing Epstein after he was convicted in New York, and perhaps he would not have regretted it at all had Jae Donnelly not photographed his happy stroll with Epstein at Central Park. It is shocking how he tried to justify his stay in New York at Epstein’s place, saying that the location was convenient, and it is all the more astonishing that he thought the interview went well! Did he really assume that the audience would not see through his blatant lies? Or, is that just royal arrogance?

Emily, Sam, Esme, and Stewart were worried that the interview would not be permitted to go on air if the Queen or her legal team intervened, but to their relief, that did not happen. In the Scoop, the Duke of York was seen taking a nice relaxing bath after watching a portion of the interview; even then, he thought it worked out fine. But with the constant buzzing of his phone, he knew that his plan did not pan out the way he intended. A day after the interview was aired, Buckingham Palace produced an official statement announcing that the prince was suspended from his royal duties. He was also stripped of his royal titles. Eventually, the Duke of York was removed from his passion project, Pitch@Palace. Prince Andrew had stated during the interview that he would cooperate in the Epstein case if need be, but that never occurred. An outside-the-court settlement was reached between Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts in February 2022.

During Scoop‘s ending, Sam McAlister finally got the recognition she deserved after the interview went on air. She was proud of bringing about a real change because the interview eventually helped the survivor build a stronger case. McAlister went on to write her celebrated autobiography, Scoops during the pandemic, because she was certain that she wanted her contribution to be documented. Scoop focuses on the behind-the-scenes of the interview, and while that could have been an interesting aspect, it ends up being superficial.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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