The Inside Story of Prince Andrew’s Notorious BBC Interview
On 16 November 2019, Prince Andrew appeared on BBC Newsnight across from legendary newsreader Emily Maitlis and proceeded to give one of the most remarkable interviews in the history of the Royal Family.
The interview led directly to Prince Andrew being forced to give up all public positions representing the Royal Family as well as a lawsuit by Virginia Guiffre and the eventual settlement out of court which has been reported to have been as high as £12m.
In the aftermath, the biggest question was why did this interview happen at all? The Royal Family are notorious for the micro-management of their public appearances and image. Prince Andrew’s top advisers and lawyers argued against the appearance. So why?
Sam McAlister was the person leading the discussions on behalf of the BBC which eventually brought the Newsnight crew into Buckingham Palace for the interview. She’s coming to Tyneside to give her account of how to convince a Prince – where it started, how it ended and the moral of the story.
Prince Andrew’s Persuader
Sam McAlister is a BAFTA-nominated interviews producer who has negotiated with everyone from Buckingham Palace to The White House, Tesla to Facebook. With skills honed over a decade in the BBC’s elite news programmes, notably BBC Newsnight, she is used to persuading reluctant individuals to participate in a news programme renowned for its rigour and bite.
Exclusives include, most famously, HRH Prince Andrew – but also Sheryl Sandberg, President Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Elon Musk, Stormy Daniels, & Julian Assange.
Negotiation, strategy and public speaking have always been at the core of everything that Sam has done — from her time as a criminal defence barrister to her many public speaking and debating prizes, and her dealings with celebrities and governments.
Sam’s book, Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews was released in 2022 and went on to be the basis for a Channel 4 documentary, aired as part of the channel’s Coronation coverage in May. It has also been optioned for a Netflix film within which Sam will be played by Billie Piper, Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk, Andrew’s private secretary. The film is scheduled for 2024.