Scoop (2024) review — The journos who brought down Randy Andy

Directed by Philip Martin | Written by Samantha McAlister, Peter Moffat, and Geoff Bussetil | 102 min | ▲▲▲△△ | Netflix

I couldn’t help but think of She Said while watching this behind-the-scenes journalism drama.  It feels adjacent to the scoop of the Weinstein revelations that led to the #MeToo movement.

This is a particularly British take on those issues, revisiting the interview with Prince Andrew in 2019 that ended his career as a prominent, public member of the British royal family. The film is nicely cast and reasonably well told — and will likely succeed in making your skin crawl in its depiction of clueless privilege.

What is important is the key players, the journalists, are all women. Sam McAlister (Billie Piper), who wrote the book this movie is based on, is a producer at the BBC investigative news broadcast Newsnight. Nobody takes her seriously because she tends to pitch fluff, celebrity interest — or maybe because she wears leopard print — but she wants her work to matter. Esme Wren (Romola Garai) is the show’s executive producer, her boss, and Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson, brittle), given to bringing her greyhound to work, is the anchor. These are the people in the room with power, even as cuts to the BBC are announced.

The palace contact is Amanda Thirsk (Keeley Hawes), the press secretary to Prince Andrew, who is played under layers of unflattering latex by Rufus Sewell. Andrew is frustrated by the way the media won’t leave his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein alone, which is compounded with Epstein’s later arrest and subsequent suicide in prison. Thirsk begins to build a connection with McAlister — she thinks maybe there’s a way out for Andrew if the public can see how charming he is, how affable. They’ll forgive him his “indiscretions.”

As anyone knows who saw the interview, it doesn’t go like that. Andrew comes off as wealthy wanker, completely disconnected from the suffering of young women — trafficked by Epstein and his friend and colleague, Ghislaine Maxwell — at least one of whom said she had sex with Andrew when she was a minor.

Piper carries the heart of the thing. As McAlister, she’s the one whose groundwork led to the interview happening at all. It was good work, though she was also lucky — in the right place at the right time. Could the film have offered more depth in the depiction of the newsroom and the pressures to offer the lowest common denominator stories? Sure. Could it have spent more time on the fallout at the palace after the interview? Definitely.

The film clearly wants to suggest the work these women did to bring down Prince Andrew was equally as important as the work of the journalists in New York who broke the Weinstein case, and perhaps it was in the UK. From this geographic remove, its mythologizing doesn’t feel quite as big a deal, especially since nobody was arrested as a result. It’s true Andrew was disgraced, a shame his public persona is unlikely to recover from, and maybe that’s enough for some. He’ll just have to live incredibly comfortably with his obscene riches until he passes away.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.