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Scoop's Sam McAlister opens up about the 'real' Amanda Thirsk and relationship after she lost job at palace

Amanda Thirsk was Prince Andrew’s palace aide when the Newsnight interview took place

Sam McAlister and Amanda Thirsk
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
13 April 2024
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Sam McAlister has opened up about staying in touch with Amanda Thirsk, and explained what Prince Andrew’s former royal aide, who is portrayed by Keeley Hawes in the Netflix movie Scoop, is like in real life. 

Speaking on HELLO!’s A Right Royal Podcast, the former producer and author explained: “She’s the classiest woman I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t want to reveal anything she said to me of course but you can see that I had a concern that the public perception - that I can understand - is that perhaps she was incompetent in some way was not shown in our characterisation. 

Listen to Sam's interview on A Right Royal Podcast here

LISTEN: Scoop author Sam McAlister opens up about the ‘real’ Amanda Thirsk

“I think it’s really important that people make their own decisions when they see all of the information. The Amanda I dealt with was very different from that public perception. Cool, calm, professional, clever, direct, across her brief, just a truly impressive woman. 

“The nuance you see in the film reflects my direct experience though I understand the public perception might be different so we did stay in touch afterwards and I have nothing but respect for her. Obviously, she lost her job because of her part - I don’t know her volume of - in his decision to do the interview.” 

The Duke of York and Amanda Thirsk a few months before the documentary aired.© Yui Mok - PA Images
The Duke of York and Amanda Thirsk a few months before the documentary aired.

Sam also confirmed that she remained in contact with Amanda after the interview took place, adding: “I think I can go as far as to say that we did keep in touch afterwards.” 

Amanda was let go from her role at the palace after Prince Andrew resigned from his royal duties, reportedly settling with a five-figure sum. She has since gone on to work for in a senior business development role, and as of February 2024 was playing a key role in the company doing a takeover bid for the electrical goods chain Curry’s. 

Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk
Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk

According to ITV at the time of Prince Andrew’s interview back in 2019, it was said that Amanda hoped that the interview would be a “clear and unambiguous denial from the Duke that he'd known anything about Jeffrey Epstein's activities”. The mother-of-three has yet to comment on the new Netflix movie. 

Sam McAlister at the 'Scoop' film premiere in London© Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock
Sam McAlister at the 'Scoop' film premiere in London

Keeley has opened up about playing Amanda, explaining why the palace aide has such admiration for the royal. She told The Telegraph: “The people that I’ve spoken to who know Prince Andrew are full of love for him… She wanted everyone to see him through her eyes, and through her eyes, he’s a great guy.


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“She’s in the background, that’s her role. She’s behind him in so many photographs, but she hasn’t given interviews. I think all in all she comes out of it quite well – you don’t want to demonise someone [who themselves did nothing wrong]. I think she truly had his best interests at heart.” 

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