July 14, 2022
Broadcast: Voltage and Lighthouse prep Prince Andrew Newsnight interview feature
Prince Andrew’s infamous Newsnight interview is set to be turned into a feature film, after Lighthouse Film and TV optioned the rights to a book on how it came about.
Scoop will be based on key chapters of Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews, by former Newsnight producer Sam McAlister, released today.
The feature will be written by Peter Moffat, the screenwriter behind Bafta-winning Criminal Justice and Emmy winning-HBO adaptation The Night Of, and co-produced by Lighthouse Film and TV, with Sanjay Singhal’s Voltage TV.
Sky Studios-backed Lighthouse Film and TV was launched in 2020 by Hilary Salmon, Radford Neville and Nick Betts, the BBC Studios team behind Bafta, RTS and Emmy award-winning shows including Luther, Criminal Justice, House of Saddam, Three Girls and The Night Of.
The film will tell the inside story of how Newsnight secured the interview with Prince Andrew, in which Emily Maitliss questioned him about his friendship with convicted paedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and allegations that he had sexually assaulted a 17-year-old.
In the interview, described as “a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion-level bad” by Charlie Proctor, editor of the Royal Central website, the Duke of York famously defended himself by saying that he had been in Pizza Express in Woking on the day the assault was alleged to have taken place and claimed he could no longer sweat.
Moffat said: “What the hell did he think he was doing? Who got him to do it? Why, when the rest of the world was so appalled, did he think it had gone so well? What kind of a man is this? In researching the film and talking to those on the inside of this extraordinary story I got the answers to all these questions.
“They’re provoking, often surprising, sometimes disturbing – and I think they make for a compelling story about power and abuse and journalistic courage.”
Exec producer Salmon said: “Sam’s book vividly chronicles the moment to moment drama that led to that most revealing and jaw-dropping of TV events.”