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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review | 'Scoop'

After years of speculation about Prince Andrew’s relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew decides to go on BBC’s “Newsnight” to clear his name. The film “Scoop” tells the story of the women who convinced him to sit in the chair and the subsequential fallout in one of the biggest and most consequential interviews on the BBC since Princess Diana in 1995.

I have an English friend who has noticed, after living here for several years, that Americans seem to be way more fascinated with the royal family than even the English. I don’t disagree and neither does Netflix. Its audiences can’t seem to get enough of the scandal- plagued royal family. After the huge success of “The Crown” and the multi-million-dollar deal with royal exiles Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the streaming giant is all about the film, “Scoop”, starring Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell.

“Scoop” is the true story of how the women of the BBC program “Newsnight” landed the bombshell interview with Prince Andrew in 2019. He agreed to the interview to clear his name as it was inextricably linked to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted sex offender. He was also meant to dispel any rumors that were swirling about his alleged sexual encounters with Virginia Louise Giuffre who was sex trafficked at the age of 17 by Epstein.

Prince Andrew did neither.

In fact, his interview will go down as one of the most bizarre 49 minutes ever seen by any audience – to sweat or not to sweat - that is the question. His confusion about his own perspiration and his lack of empathy for the young girls who were trafficked and assaulted destroyed Andrew’s reputation.

After the interview, he stepped down from public duties, and wasn’t really seen until his father, Prince Phillip’s funeral three years later. Ultimately, he was stripped of his royal titles and duties, no small feat given that Prince Andrew was always thought to be Queen Elizabeth’s favorite son.

“Scoop”, directed by Philip Martin, chronicles the determination of producer Sam McAlister (Billie Piper), to land the interview by multiple visits to Buckingham Palace and meetings with the prince’s personal secretary, Amanda Thirsk (Keeley Hawes) and eventually the prince himself. McAlister is by no means a gritty shoe-leather reporter, but more of a psychological finesser when it comes to convincing Andrew and his team to do the devastating interview.

We see how McAlister, who is a single mom, and seemingly one rung beneath the seasoned journalists of “Newsnight”, fights for her right to dignity in the newsroom and the stigma that she’s more of a Daily Mail journalist than the BBC. She certainly proves herself by landing the interview and her colleagues must honor her tenacity in the end.

The famed news anchor, Emily Maitlis, (the UK’s Diane Sawyer) portrayed by Anderson, is the journalist who conducts the interview, and she is unsurprisingly flawless.

Maitlis is a marathon running, dog loving, bad ass who has a reputation of getting people to talk. In the film, she skillfully grills the prince without ever seeming like a gotcha reporter. In fact she was overtly courteous with the prince. And she gave him ample opportunity to express sympathy for Epstein’s victims, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it and he was ultimately panned and cancelled. And for good reason.

I liked the film’s pace and the writing. It was easy to get lost in the story and the acting, especially by Anderson, was top notch.

Martin reminds the audience at the end of the film that Prince Andrew was sued by Giuffre under New York’s Child Victims Act, for allegedly forcing her to have sexual encounters with him when she was trafficked by Epstein. And even though he denies the allegations, Andrew paid her an undisclosed amount of money ranging in the millions to settle the lawsuit before he was brought in for deposition.

Doesn’t seem very royal. Or does it?

“Scoop” is streaming on Netflix. It’s not rated and has a running time of 1 hour and 42 minutes.