Advertisement

Netflix’s Scoop crew mistook Billie Piper for BBC Newsnight producer

"Everyone got so confused."

Newsnight on This Morning
Sam McAlister was a guest on This Morning. (ITV)

What Did You Miss?

This Morning presenters Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond welcomed ex-Newsnight producer Sam McAlister onto the sofa on Monday (12 February), where she previewed the upcoming Netflix drama Scoop.

Based on her memoir Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interview, the film presents the car crash Newsnight interview between Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew, which aired on BBC Two in 2019 and covered the royal's alleged relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Apparently, Doctor Who favourite Billie Piper plays McAlister so convincingly in the dramatisation, the entire Scoop crew mixed them both up on set.

Newsnight on This Morning
Alison Hammond was on duty as co-presenter. (ITV)

What, how and why?

Asked by Hammond how much input she had in the making of Scoop, McAlister replied: "I'm not gonna lie to you, I tried to keep it classy and I seriously failed.

"So as an executive producer I thought that just sounded posh, but in truth I was involved right at the beginning; the screenplay, the screenwriter. I went on set first week once - keeping it classy - by the end I was on every day. It was so much fun!"

On the casting of both Gillian Anderson (as Maitlis) and Piper, she shared another anecdote. "You see [the portrayals come] together in terms of costumes, you know, Gillian wears a wig, Billie wears a wig. It looked really itchy, I'm sorry Billie about that! Billie's hair is very different to mine.

"You start with nothing and you build a jigsaw puzzle. I mean, people could not tell us apart. I'm on set and people are shouting at me, 'Billie, why are you here?' And I'm like, 'I'm Sam!' Everyone got so confused.

"There was a picture in [The Daily Mail] ... I'm not dissing The Mail, The Mail are great, but they confused me and Billie and had Billie kissing my boyfriend - it all got very strange. But yeah, it's uncanny."

Scoop (Netflix)
Billie Piper in Scoop. (Netflix)

What else happened on This Morning?

Elsewhere in this section of the ITV programme, McAlister, who trained as a criminal barrister, confessed she never believed the Prince Andrew interview would actually materialise.

After 13 months of negotiations, the royals agreed to it. "[As producer] my job was persuading people to go on [Newsnight] against their interests basically. I spent my time trying to get them to do something they probably shouldn't have done," she recalled. "Honestly I dropped my phone, I could not believe they said yes."

Watch: Epstein victim doubles down on Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Richard Branson 'sex tape' claim