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9 fact vs fiction storylines from Netflix’s ‘Scoop’ (aka our new Roman Empire)

9 fact vs fiction storylines from Netflix's 'Scoop' (aka our new Roman Empire)

So. Many. Questions.

Scoop is our new Roman Empire – we can't stop thinking about it.

Starring Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper, Keeley Hawes and Rufus Sewell, the Netflix film recounts the real-life story of Prince Andrew's car crash interview with BBC Newsnight, showcasing his involvement with notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

But, like with many TV series and films based on a true story, particularly when it comes to the royal family, it's sometimes difficult to know what's been fabricated for dramatic purposes and what actually happened. We've wondered (and researched) this many a time with each season of The Crown, after all.

One big question on everyone's minds when it comes to Scoop is this, though – was Prince Andrew as obsessed with his teddy bears as the film portrays? We see him berating a maid (played by Kate Winslet's daughter, Mia Threapleton) for not organising his cuddly toys correctly. So, interview drama aside, did this actually happen?

Allegedly so. In an interview with The Sun in 2022 a former Buckingham Palace maid opened up about her experiences organising Prince Andrew's 72 soft toys in order of size back in the 1990s, when Prince Andrew would've been in his thirties.

“As soon as I got the job, I was told about the teddies and it was drilled into me how he wanted them,” she said. “I even had a day’s training. It was so peculiar. After all, he was a grown man who had served in the Falklands. Each had to be carefully positioned.

“They were old-fashioned teddy bears – the Steiff ones – and nearly all of them had sailor suits on and hats. It took me half an hour to arrange them. Then at bedtime I had to take all the teddies off and arrange them around the room. They each had a set place. We had to stack the smaller ones in an unused fireplace, again in size order, to make them look pretty. His two favourite bears sat on two thrones either side of the bed. The others would sit at the foot of the bed on the floor.” If this wasn't done correctly, she said, the Prince would lose his temper.

According to The Sun, Prince Andrew himself spoke about his love of teddy bears in 2010, saying: “I’ve always collected teddy bears. Everywhere I went in the navy, I used to buy a little teddy bear, so I’ve got a collection from all over the world of one sort or another.”

So there you have it. Here are eight more moments from Scoop that we needed to identify were either true or false.

Did Prince Andrew's team float the idea of the interview in the first place?

Admittedly, they were looking for a different kind of interview – a “puff piece”, according to Sam McAlister, the producer played by Billie Piper in the film who played a crucial part in acquiring the interview.

She wrote in the Radio Times: “It started, innocently enough, with an email in my inbox from a PR inviting us to do a ‘puff piece’ […] We declined that offer. We don’t do those at Newsnight. And then, a few months later, came an invitation to the Palace to meet Amanda… But there was a red line – no questions about Jeffrey Epstein. And so, even though at that stage (May 2019) it wasn’t the huge story that it became, we declined again. No interview.”

Things changed, however, when Jeffrey Epstein was arrested – and Andrew's team finally agreed to go ahead.

Did Emily Maitlis' dog really come to work with her?

Sources have said that Emily's whippet Moody was often seen at work (as well as on her Instagram grid).

“It was just one of those things that happened,” a BBC source reportedly told MailOnline. “You'd turn up to work and Emily would have her dog with her. But she was the only one. Some laughed. Others thought it was pretty entitled. Maybe it was a presenter thing, but those earning far less than Emily had to shell out for dog walkers and the like.”

But we know that the dog very rarely made an appearance in Scoop. Gillian Anderson, who plays Maitlis, didn't get on well with the dog so she often acted with just a lead on camera.

Did Prince Andrew’s publicist Jason Stein quit in the lead-up to the interview?

He did leave his job, but not in the dramatic way that was perhaps alluded to on Scoop. The Times has reported that the decision to leave was “by mutual consent”. As far as we know, anyway…

Did Prince Andrew make comments about Emily Maitlis' outfit?

While the Prince didn't comment on Emily's “trousers” IRL like in Scoop, the line was used to capture the “spirit” of the sexism women face in the media.

She explained: “Like many women in journalism, every element of Emily’s appearance is pored over on social media.

“It was definitely important we felt, sadly, that she wore something very conservative so we didn’t have an onslaught of criticism about her attire being inappropriate given the seriousness of the interview and the content. [That line] is the spirit of the situation.”

Was Princess Beatrice in the room for Prince Andrew's meeting with the BBC?

She was indeed in the room for negotiations around the interview. In Channel 4 documentary Andrew: The Problem Prince, Emily describes the Princess' presence as a “curve ball”.

“[Princess Beatrice’s presence] was really quite a curve ball of curve balls. Can you imagine being in Buckingham Palace about to talk to a member of the royal family about sexual offences? That’s pretty tricky. And now I’ve got to do it in front of his daughter.”

The Princess is played by The Great and Sense and Sensibility actor Charity Wakefield in Scoop.

9 fact vs fiction storylines from Netflix's 'Scoop' (aka our new Roman Empire)

© 2023 Netflix, Inc.

Did Jeffrey Epstein go to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party?

Scoop references that Epstein attended the Princess' birthday celebrations, and we can confirm that 100% happened IRL.

Did Prince Andrew really think the BBC Newsnight interview went well?

This one is most certainly true – his team didn't realise how catastrophically it had gone initially.

In her book, Sam recalls: “I could barely believe his people hadn’t stopped the interview. I would have, despite the consequences. ‘How did you think it went?’ I asked the equerry. She beamed. ‘Wasn’t he wonderful!’ she said.

“I’d expected Amanda Thirsk [played by Keeley Hawes] to be distraught, the Prince to look shaken or concerned, but she was smiling, and he seemed ebullient. And then it hit me: he thought it had gone well. He was in such a good mood that he offered us all a tour of the palace.”

Did the the late Queen really give her support and sign off for the interview?

Unconfirmed. Both Emily and Esme Wren (the editor of BBC Newsnight at the time), have confirmed that the Queen was “aware” of the interview but didn't approve it. It was only after she saw the interview transcript that the true concerns began.

Speaking on Andrew: The Problem Prince, Emily said: “It was only on the Saturday when the Queen had reportedly read the whole transcript that he received a tap on the shoulder by his security detail. And they said, I think, ‘Sir, you might have to come with us’. It was after the Queen had seen what the interview contained that I think it dawned on her before it dawned on him.”

Scoop is available to watch now on Netflix.

9 fact vs fiction storylines from Netflix's 'Scoop' (aka our new Roman Empire)

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