In 1887, the historian, politician and writer Lord Acton said: “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

It’s certainly capable of corrupting your judgement. How else to explain Prince Andrew agreeing to that Newsnight interview? 

Once you’ve attained enough power, it can become impossible for those around you to say ‘no’. Challenge the boss and you’re off the team. Andrew’s PR advisor Jason Stein reportedly quitting shortly before the interview tells its own story.

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Andrew will presumably have been thinking ‘people listen to the royals. I’ll go on the prole box, tell the plebs my excuse and this will all blow over by next week’. 

Over three years on, the announcement of a forthcoming Netflix drama suggests that wasn’t quite the case. 

The Herald: Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview turned him into a national laughing stockPrince Andrew's Newsnight interview turned him into a national laughing stock (Image: PA Images)

Prince Andrew on Newsnight? Refresh my memory. 

Virginia Guiffre alleged in 2014 that, at the age of 17, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficked her to Prince Andrew. 

In November 2019, the embattled Prince sat down with Emily Maitlis for an hour-long interview about his relationship with Epstein. 

How did it go?

Put it this way, it’s been three years and three months since you were last able to think about Pizza Express without laughing. 

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The Prince came off as shifty and untrustworthy, becoming a national laughing stock and fodder for relentless memes based on his insistence that “On that particular day…I was at home, I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking” and “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at and I simply…it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”

The Herald: The Woking branch of Pizza ExpressThe Woking branch of Pizza Express (Image: PA Images)

Did he weather the storm?

Not exactly. Four days later, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Prince was suspending his public duties “for the foreseeable future”, and within six months Andrew had resigned from all his public roles. 

And now there’s a Netflix drama?

Scoop begins filming in London this month, with X-Files and The Crown star Gillian Anderson playing Maitlis and the Prince portrayed by The Man in the High Castle’s Rufus Sewell.

Keeley Hawes will play Andrew’s former private secretary Amanda Thirsk, while Newsnight producer Sam McAlister will be played by Billie Piper. 

The Herald: Rufus Sewell, who will portray Prince AndrewRufus Sewell, who will portray Prince Andrew (Image: PA Images)

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What can we expect?

Anderson and Hawes in particular are A-list television talent, and bring serious prestige to the project. In a statement, director Philip Martin said: “It’s a film about power, privilege and differing perspectives and how - whether in glittering palaces or hi-tech newsrooms - we judge what’s true.”

So he’s saying…

Yes, the truth is out there.