Billie Piper reveals what she’s learned from the real-life person behind her Scoop character

Virgin Radio

4 Apr 2024, 07:38

Billie Piper talks to Chris Evans at Virgin Radio

Billie Piper stars in new film Scoop, which is a dramatic retelling of the process of securing the 2019 Newsnight interview of Prince Andrew.

Joining the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar to speak about the movie, which lands on Netflix tomorrow (5th April), Billie said: “This story is about the unsung heroes behind the infamous Prince Andrew Newsnight story. So it's about how that interview found its way to our screens and the level of work that went into clinching it. And I play Sam McAlister, who's the booker on Newsnight. And she is unlike anyone I've ever met.”

The film is an adaptation of the former Newsnight editor's book, Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews. Speaking about the person she is portraying, actor and former singer Billie explained: “This is where we’re quite alike. She's from a working class family. Her parents were market stall guys. I can't remember what they sold, but they had the art of negotiation and haggle, and that's where she learned that from. Very savvy, very bright, and then did the things that everyone thought were impossible. I think she went to Edinburgh and studied law, became a criminal barrister. So she has the art of negotiation down. She has that amazing poker face so she’s kind of unreadable, and yet really warm as well, which doesn't really make sense.” 

“She's the reason he said yes, because she's so likeable and so persuasive and also so transparent. She's very clear about what they're doing from the get-go. It doesn't feel sneaky or shady.”

Billie continued: “She's so positive. She's so energised, that it's a good choice to be around people like that. And she's in awe of everything, which is such a nice thing to watch. It’s like, ‘Yes, of course you find this amazing.’ She's like, ‘This is great.’ This is a movie about her life and she's finally getting seen and she had been unsung, and she deserves to be very, very much public-facing. She's almost the perfect person to be famous. She could handle it.”

When Chris asked what Billie and the real-life Sam have learned from each other, the Doctor Who star replied: “I don't know what she's learned from me, if anything, but I feel like from her, I don’t know, she’s just a constant reminder to be yourself, and she's a constant reminder to be open, warm, loving, grateful. She's joy. So, I guess that just rubbed off.”

The film also stars Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew, and Keeley Hawes as aide Amanda Thirsk. The 2019 Newsnight interview came in the wake of Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault allegations against the Prince, which he has always denied. On seeing the completed film at the recent premiere, Billie said: “I thought it was amazing that you could go from laughing hysterically at how surreal and absurd his behaviour is, to then being engaged immediately, literally three seconds later, with the pain and the sadness of the victims. And that's a really hard line to coast. So it's funny, but it's not gross or insensitive. It's kind of doing a bit of everything.”

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.