Palace viewed Andrew interview as never to be repeated, says Newsnight producer

Palace viewed Andrew interview as never to be repeated, says Newsnight producer

Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview was viewed by Buckingham Palace as a “one-off” which will never be repeated, the producer has said.

Sam McAlister spent a year securing the sit-down on-camera meeting with Andrew.

The duke has faced a barrage of criticism following the BBC programme in which he discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – with Andrew accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims.

McAlister told GQ magazine: “As far as the palace was concerned, this is not going to be done again, this interview.

“This is a one-off. And they wanted to ensure that there were no misunderstandings about His Royal Highness doing a candid and fair exchange.”

She added: “They understood that that was what they were looking for.

“To be frank, they wanted to do something that was clear, open, impartial, rigorous – and there was never any misunderstanding about what was on offer.

“The integrity and the rigour of the programme, I feel, is one of the things that attracted them to us.”

McAlister called the interview “no holds barred”, adding: “The extent of his openness, frankness, the length of (the duke’s) answers, the generosity of the time that he spent with us … It certainly felt a very significant and unusual situation to be in.”

Describing the experience, she said: “Once the cameras start rolling and you’re sitting behind His Royal Highness The Duke Of York, doing his first ever interview on allegations of the type that you never expect to hear a member of the royal family speak on in your lifetime, you definitely start to feel that something momentous, of national significance, is happening.

“And that was certainly my feeling when I was lucky enough to be in that room.”

The Duke of York, in his role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards (Jonathan Brady/PA)
The Duke of York, in his role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards (Jonathan Brady/PA)

She confirmed that Andrew took members of the Newsnight team on a tour of the palace.

“The prince was extremely congenial afterwards, as he was throughout the entire process – he could not have been more generous and kind to us, particularly given the circumstances, and he showed (interviewer) Emily (Maitlis) and other members of the team around the palace,” she said.

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