Billie Piper reveals the ‘biggest concern’ she had about joining new movie Scoop

Virgin Radio

2 Apr 2024, 09:48

Billie Piper talks to Chris Evans at Virgin Radio.

Billie Piper stars as Sam McAlister in new biographical drama Scoop, which tells the story of Prince Andrew’s notorious Newsnight interview.

Coming to Netflix this Friday, 5th April, the film sees Billie portray the producer who secured the interview with the royal. The cast also features Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Keeley Hawes as aide Amanda Thirsk.

Directed by The Crown’s Philip Martin, the film is a dramatic retelling of the process of securing the 2019 BBC interview. Joining the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar, Billie revealed her initial concern about being involved. “It's testament to Philip, our director, because my biggest concern about coming on board with this was, if everyone knows the outcome, where are the stakes? Where's the drama? Where's the conflict?”

However, she added: “And then I read the script, and I was like, ‘Oh, that's great.’ And then I saw it for the first time. And I thought, ‘He's coasted that line so beautifully, of being so invested in something you know is about to happen.’ But I suppose you're following real people and that's what keeps you connected to the journey to that interview. There's an emotional ‘in’, which you wouldn't otherwise have, I suppose, if you just had the interview. And I suppose there's something about the sisterhood of them all, even though their relationships are quite sticky. It's not smooth sailing, and that journalistic world is so dog-eat-dog.”

Speaking about the interview between Gillian Anderson’s Emily Maitlis and Rufus Sewell’s Prince Andrew, BIllie told Chris: “I watched them do that interview from beginning to end three times. It was like watching a play. They were amazing. And they didn't rehearse.”

The real-life interview, titled Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal came in the wake of Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault allegations against the Prince, which he has always denied. Doctor Who star Billie said: “What was amazing was in the pre-interview interview, which you don’t see in the film, but part of the chat that they had before the live interview, he was giving those sorts of answers about Pizza Express, not sweaty, all this stuff that everybody was like, ‘What?’ And they were like, ‘Okay, well, this is gold, but he's probably not going to say that on the day.’ And he said it a little on the day. It's kind of amazing.”

The film is an adaptation of former Newsnight editor McAlister's book, Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews. On her character seeking to secure the royal for Newsnight, the I Hate Suzie actor said: “Prince Andrew is a perfect person for that show, because he is, you know, a royal, a person of huge profile and someone who has to be held accountable for his behaviour. He covers all those things, so that's the ideal booking. Otherwise, it's like people in cultured stuff, but also with a political agenda. So it's a really hard job. And it's made so much harder, sort of ping-ponging between those two huge British institutions. There's red lines everywhere.”

Talking to Chris about Andrew’s reaction to the Newsnight interview, once it had been concluded, she said: “He felt that it had gone well. They all felt like it had gone well. And there's such a question mark over that for me. Like, how did this get signed off?” 

Scoop is out this Friday 5th April on Netflix.

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.