Grab your popcorn. Netflix is making a movie about the famous interview that led Prince Andrew to step back from his duties as a working member of the royal family.
The BBC sit-down, which took place in November 2019, was conducted by Emily Maitlis. The journalist questioned the Duke of York about his alleged friendship with disgraced billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein following his death earlier that year. Andrew faced sexual assault accusations of his own at the time — but denied them at the time of the broadcast.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip said of Virginia Giuffre’s (née Roberts) claims that she was forced to have sex with him three times between 1999 to 2002. “It just never happened.”
Following his Newsnight appearance, Andrew announced he would be stepping back from his royal duties.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstance relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has [become] a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” the November 2019 statement read. “Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
The interview was organized by producer Sam McAlister, who went on to write about the experience in her memoir, Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews. Ahead of the book’s release in September 2022, McAlister exclusively spoke to Us Weekly about what happened behind the scenes.
“This started with an innocent email asking to do what we call a puff piece,” she recalled in August 2022. “On the day of the negotiation [for the interview], I’d say [Prince Andrew] was in very good spirits. He comes from a position of power, and he spent a couple of hours with us. [Then] he threw a complete curve ball at us: his daughter Princess Beatrice came to that final negotiation.”
The tell-all serves as the inspiration for an upcoming Netflix project, which was initially announced in July 2022. Deadline reported in February 2023 that production was officially underway and that the streaming giant had selected its all-star cast, including Doctor Who alum Billie Piper. The BAFTA nominee is set to portray McAlister.
“It is beyond my wildest dreams, especially as a first time writer, to end up working with this extraordinary cast, Netflix, and the amazing teams at The Lighthouse and Voltage,” the BBC producer said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter at the time. “Watching Billie Piper, one of my favorite actresses, play ‘me’ will be a pinch myself moment and I’m truly thrilled to be involved in this film.”
In January 2022, Andrew was stripped of his royal titles amid the development of the sexual assault lawsuit. A judge dismissed the prince’s request to have the case thrown out and could go to trial. The following month, Andrew settled his lawsuit with Giuffre out of court according to documents obtained by Us.
“Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights,” the letter read. “Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.”
Keep scrolling to learn more about the Netflix film: