How much of Scoop is true? We separate fact from fiction

Netflix's Scoop has had the nation transfixed - here's what you need to know about the accuracy of the Netflix film

Netflix scoop
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix's Scoop has sent new shockwaves across the nation, putting the infamous 2019 interview between Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis back in the spotlight. Viewers have been left questioning how much of Scoop is true, after the new film has revealed more questionable details about the Duke of York.

We're all familiar with the bizarre details of the original interview, where Andrew protested his innocence with a Pizza Express alibi and inability to sweat after an incident in the Falklands War. But Scoop tells more of the story, focusing on the events leading up to 16th November, and giving more of an insight into the private lives of both interviewer and interviewee (Prince Andrew's love of teddy bears is a real eye opener).

Based on the book Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interview by former Newsnight booker Sam McAlister, Scoop tells the story of how the BBC managed to land such a crucial interview and the negotiations that took place in order to secure it (if you want to catch up on the original interview, here's how you can watch Prince Andrew's 2019 Newsnight interview). 

Considering Scoop is based on Sam's memoir, the plot doesn't stray too far from real events, told from the Newsnight booker's perspective. The film’s producers "meticulously researched the events at the BBC and Buckingham Palace during this time," according to Netflix. However, there are some subtle differences. 

Since the Netflix show aired, there have been questions raised about the accuracy of the film and what's been added for dramatic effect. While Scoop is rooted in real-life events, like in the dramatisation of royal life in The Crown (which also had Scoop director Philip Marti at the helm), in some cases the line between fact and fiction is blurred. We unpack how much of Scoop is true, from whether Emily Maitlis really took her dog Moody everywhere to whether Prince Andrew really did think the interview went so well. 

Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews by Sam McAlister | £7.79 at Amazon

Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews by Sam McAlister | £7.79 at Amazon
Written by TV producer Sam McAlister, her book details how she secured the Prince Andrew interview in 2019 which became one of the most explosive interviews in BBC history.

Did Jason Stein really quit as Prince Andrew's PR manager?

In Scoop, we're introduced to Andrew's PR manager Jason Stein, who is hired to help temper Prince Andrew's 'Playboy Prince' reputation, but he sensationally quits, telling Andrew's private secretary, Amanda Thirsk "I'm out" after they can't reach an agreement on setting 'red lines' ahead of the Newsnight interview. 

In reality, things weren't perhaps as dramatic, though it's hard to establish exactly what happened in private as the film focuses on Sam McAlister's point of view. We do know that Jason left the job after just one month, with a source close to the PR manager revealing (via The Sun), ''He hadn't really got his feet under the table when he decided to leave and move on and he didn't even get paid, he wasn't there long enough." It's also true that Jason was extremely opposed to the Newsnight interview, but it's thought that he left his role with "mutual consent" after Prince Andrew confirmed he would do it. 

The source continued, "It was quite clear the path they were taking and so Jason left after less than a month by mutual consent."

Was Prince Andrew friends with Jimmy Savile?

Questions have been raised over Prince Andrew's relationship with Jimmy Savile after Scoop depicts the Duke of York telling Emily Maitlis, "I don’t know why everyone’s so upset about my friendship with Epstein – I knew Jimmy Savile so much better." 

It's certainly an off-key joke, but is there any truth in it? There isn't current evidence to suggest that Prince Andrew and Jimmy were close, but the latter's relationship with the royals, in particular King Charles, has been well documented. 

The Duke of York also appeared on an episode of Jim’ll Fix It, granting the wish of an eight-year-old girl who asked if she could visit a warship by hosting her on the minehunter HMS Cottesmore.

Is Prince Andrew an avid teddy bear collector?

If you were to think this is a bizarre fabrication of Andrew's character, you would have a fair point - as it's rooted in reality. Several sources have claimed that Prince Andrew has a large stuffed toy collection that he is extremely precious about, particularly when it comes to how the teddies are arranged. Yes, really. 

Charlotte Briggs, a former Buckingham Palace maid revealed to The Sun in 2022 that organising Andrew's teddys was an integral part of the job. She told the publication, "As soon as I got the job, I was told about the teddies, and it was drilled into me how he wanted them. 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."

Paul Page, who was in the Royal Protection Command from 1998 to 2004, has also spoken out on the topic in an ITV documentary (via The Sun), recalling, "There was a card, in a drawer and it was a picture of these bears all in situ. The reason for the laminated picture was if those bears weren’t put back in the right order by the maids, he would shout and scream."

Prince Andrew himself has also spoken of his love for teddies, telling The Sun back in 2010 (via Vogue), "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." 

Did Prince Andrew compliment Emily Maitlis on her outfit?

Emily Maitlis in Scoop

(Image credit: Netflix)

In Scoop, before the interview takes place, we see the Duke of York attempt to compliment his interviewer on her outfit, pointing at her ensemble and exclaiming "Trousers" before making a noise in appreciation. 

This detail was likely added for dramatic effect to highlight Emily Maitlis was well known to wear skirts, but apparently did not want to distract the Duke in any way, and therefore wore trousers. It was no doubt also added to cement the Duke's 'Randy Andy' reputation - a nickname pushed by booker Sam McAlister. 

Does Emily Maitlis really have a dog called Moody?

Yes, Emily does have a pet whippet called Moody, whom she is very attached to - he's a regular feature on her Instagram page, where the presenter posts pictures of him with the nickname 'Moods'. 

A BBC insider told the Daily Mail (via The Independent), "Emily loves that dog so much, and he would often be at her side when she came to work. It was just one of those things that happened."

Though the role of Moody is Scoop appears to have been somewhat exaggerated for dramatic effect, as Newsnight sources have confirmed to The Times (via Tatler) that while the dog would occasionally accompany Emily while she carried out prep work, he was never present during interviews.

Did Andrew really think the interview had gone well?

In Scoop, Andrew's reaction to the interview is initially rather arrogant, remarking to Emily Maitlis, "I thought that all went very well" to which she replies, "Like a walk in the park."

While the wording may not have been exactly the same, in reality, the sentiment certainly was there, with it widely reported that the Duke of York was very happy with his performance in the interview and went on to invite Emily on a tour of Buckingham Palace, which she declined. 

Emily elaborated after the interview (via The Telegraph), "We crammed into a taxi and we were all eyeballing each other. We didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. We had got an interview the likes of which had never been seen before."

Lauren Hughes

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren worked on the woman&home brand for four years before going freelance. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine.