Emily maitlis

You’ll want to claw your face off: Scoop reviewed

Scoop is a dramatised account of the events leading up to the BBC’s 2019 Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew. The one he imagined would allow him to put Jeffrey Epstein behind him, but instead put Pizza Express (Woking) on the map, made us want to claw our own faces off with the horror of it, and led to the Queen stripping him of all his royal and military titles. (I think you know you are in trouble with Mummy when this happens.) Although billed as a ‘film’, this isn’t especially cinematic. It’s more like a bonus episode of The Crown but it is phenomenally cast (Rufus Sewell is a revelation)

The BBC is self-destructing

There are still 27 people left in the British Isles – at the time of writing – who are unaware of the name of the BBC presenter who allegedly paid a teenager lots of money to look at pictures of their bottom and so on. Some of them are on the remote windswept island of Foula, I believe. The rest are members of the chap’s family. Its complaints procedure is not designed to discover the truth and adjudicate appropriately I quite envy those who have not yet been told via that conduit for concentrated human misery, social media. There was a rather wonderful couple of days when the name was

The Sam McAlister Edition

36 min listen

Sam McAlister is a producer and author of Scoops: The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews from Prince Andrew to Steven Seagal. When she worked for Newsnight, she was the producer who secured the infamous interview with Prince Andrew, conducted by Emily Maitlis. This interview eventually led to Prince Andrew being suspended from public duties and stepping back from all of his patronages. McAlister is now being portrayed by the actress Billie Piper in a coming Netflix adaptation of the Prince Andrew interview. On the episode, she tells Katy about coming from a ‘grafting, entrepreneurial’ family and how that informed her competitiveness; her brief career in law; and the behind-the-scenes story of how

The BBC’s new direction

I am becoming terribly worried about the people of Sunderland with regard to how they will cope in this coming winter. The greatly increased fuel bills will affect all parts of the country, of course – but none more so than the Mackems who, I suspect, will largely die as a consequence. Their particular problem was highlighted by the local Labour MP, Bridget Phillipson, on BBC2’s Politics Live hosted by the excellent Jo Coburn. Ms Phillipson said people in her constituency opened their doors to her wearing their coats and possibly mufflers, because they were trying to reduce their energy bills. The temperature up here has not dropped below about

Finding freedom: BBC exodus continues

Will the last BBC presenter to leave please turn out the lights? Lewis Goodall of Newsnight is the latest star to leave W1A, joining the Beeb tribute act over at Global Radio, owners of LBC. In recent months, other stars to have made such a journey include Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel, Andrew Marr, Eddie Mair and producer Dino Sofos. Such a move means, in the words of the Guardian’s Jim Waterson, ‘More money, more editorial freedom, less scrutiny.’ Departing the BBC means that Goodall is, at last, free to share his political views Departing the BBC means that Goodall is, at last, free to share his political views that have

The curious case of Barry Gardiner

In May 2020, in the wake of the Barnard Castle story, Emily Maitlis delivered her famous Newsnight address to the nation: ‘Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.’ The public felt ‘fury, contempt and anguish’ at what had happened. The Prime Minister was showing ‘blind loyalty’ to a colleague, etc. Now Mr Cummings is chief witness for the prosecution of Boris Johnson of which Ms Maitlis was an early forerunner. It is time for Emily to speak to us via Newsnight once more and, in the interests of the BBC’s Impartiality Action Plan, declare: ‘Dominic Cummings is a brave whistle-blower. Shocked

Why I refused to be interviewed by Emily Maitlis

On Tuesday, I was asked to appear on BBC Newsnight to talk about the Sussexes’ interview. When told it would be presented by Emily Maitlis, I declined, on the grounds that ever since her political speech against Dominic Cummings on the programme last year, I have had no confidence in her fairness. Sure enough, she spoke on the programme that night of ‘the sense of the attempted suicide’ of the Duchess of Sussex — though Meghan had mentioned only ‘suicidal thoughts’.  At the time, my little gesture seemed rather pointless, so I was pleased to read in the next day’s papers that Ofcom has at last decided that the Maitlis diatribe

So did Harry and Meghan get married in their ‘backyard’?

I have been slow in the uptake. When I saw the Duchess of Sussex complain in her interview clips about how her son had not been given a title and then move on to the alleged racism of an alleged speculation by an unnamed but probably royal person about the possible skin colour of the child she was expecting, I did not immediately see the connection. The full interview makes it clear. Meghan is saying that Archie was not allowed to be a prince because of his skin colour. Oprah: ‘Do you think it’s because of his race?’ Meghan: ‘We have in tandem the conversation of “He won’t be given

The highlights of history: a Spectator Christmas survey

Emily Maitlis Six years ago I took my son, Milo, to Bucharest for his birthday. In the baking July sun, seeking shade, we crouched on the kerb in front of the presidential palace. And I played him the footage of the crowds on that bitter December morning of 1989 as Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena emerged on to the balcony. The speech Ceausescu gave, or tried to give, on 21 December was his last. And it was extraordinary. Ceausescu used his balcony address to reassure, cajole, bribe the crowd. But it turned against him as he stood there. This footage — state TV rolling live at the time —

Can £3,000 make me as pretty as Emily Maitlis?

If you’re a journalist with a fondness for appearing on television — and, let’s face it, most of us are — the Covid crisis has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re no longer expected to drag yourself off to a studio at the crack of dawn, whether it’s Broadcasting House in the West End or Sky’s headquarters in Isleworth. You simply tumble out of bed, open your laptop and do a ‘down the line’. You don’t even have to put your trousers on. But the big drawback is, you look terrible. In a television studio, you have the benefit of make-up, professional lighting and proper cameras and

The real problem with Newsnight

The Twitter feed of BBC Newsnight editor Esme Wren (remember, I read this stuff so you don’t have to) is full of plaintive whining that no cabinet minister will agree to appear on her benighted programme. The Twitter feed of her chief presenter, Emily Maitlis, is largely a screed of bile and petulance directed at the government, some of which is usefully later recycled into her opening programme monologue. Unless Esme has had her brain scooped out with a soup spoon you might expect her to have found a connection between these two facts. Not a bit of it. ‘Cabinet minister, what is it about Newsnight, with its left-wing presenters,

War of the Worlds is as bad as Doctor Who

Edwardian England deserved everything it got from those killer Martian invaders. Or so I learned from the BBC’s latest adaptation of The War of the Worlds (Sundays). Everything about that era, apparently, was hateful, backward and ripe for destruction: regressive attitudes to women and homosexuality; exultant white supremacy (cue, a speech from a government minister on the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race); a general prevailing bone-headedness and stuck-upness; stiff, stuffy, relentlessly brown clothing with superfluous belts; and as for those ridiculous bristling moustaches… Still, I don’t think H.G. Wells would have been totally appalled by this travesty of his 1898 potboiler. Wells was, after all, a man of the left

Toby Young

Prince Andrew should have married someone like my wife

Like many people, I watched Prince Andrew’s Newsnight meltdown with mounting disbelief. Why had he agreed to do it? It wasn’t as if the general public was clamouring for an answer about what he was doing on the night he’d been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old victim of Jeffrey Epstein. And if he was going to give a television interview, why choose Emily Maitlis? That’s like booking yourself into Sweeney Todd’s for a short back and sides. Emily asked me to do an interview last year when I was forced to resign from the Office for Students over some embarrassing old tweets and, after humming and hawing for

Don’t believe the headlines

I suppose it was a bit naive to wander on to Newsnight having been booked to talk about Brexit and my new book and expect to talk about Brexit and my new book. I should have expected instead to be shrieked at about ‘racism’ by a fishwife on acid, which is what happened. In the usual calm, measured and unpartisan manner, Emily Maitlis suggested that I spewed bile each week for the Murdoch press. I might have pointed out that at least people voluntarily fork out their couple of quid to immerse themselves in that bile, rather than as in her case being involuntarily taxed to pay for her inflated

The complaints are piling up at the BBC after my Newsnight appearance

For those of you who were not watching, if you have the time, take a look at the interview I did on Newsnight with Emily Maitlis about my book. And tell me if you think that it was an even-handed, unbiased, rational discussion. The complaints are piling up at the BBC: here’s one from a remainer: Dear sir or madam, I am writing in relation to Emily Maitlis’s interview with Rod Liddle on Newsnight yesterday. I have the highest regard for the BBC: over many years, I have relied on the organisation to provide impartial reporting and comment on a wide range of issues. Moreover, I am well aware of

Tables turned | 27 June 2019

It can’t be easy to find yourself on the other end of the microphone when you’re a journalist of the calibre of Emily Maitlis. You know all the pitfalls, how easy it is to be teased out of your bunker, to say more than you ever intended under the scrutiny of an ambitious, driven interviewer with a keen nose for a story. In One to One on Radio 4, though, it was surprising to hear the ultra-cool Newsnight presenter almost in tears as she recalled covering the Manchester Arena bomb and the Grenfell fire. We could hear her voice catching, the tears welling up, her words stuttering as she tried

High life | 11 October 2018

Gstaad   The bells are ringing, the bells are ringing, ding dong, ding dong. The cows are down from up high, where they’ve been grazing since spring. I look at them from my window and they stare back. I love hearing cowbells day and night. Their sound accompanies me as I hit the makiwara. I like it best when the cows cosy up and examine me up close. They have a complete absence of expression: no emotion, no curiosity, serene. The one that grazes just outside my window I call Emily, and she has even more tsuki no kokoro — ‘mind like the moon’ in karate parlance — than the

High life | 5 July 2018

Oh, to be in England, and almost die of heat after the Austrian Alps. Yes, Sarah Sands was right in her Speccie diary about last week being a great week of summer parties in London, but the really good ones are still to come. This weekend both Blenheim Palace and Badminton House play host to great balls. I only mention them because there are only two English dukes whom I acknowledge, Beaufort and Marlborough, because I knew both men when they were in their teens. There has been some grumbling about the fact that neither house would give in and change the date, but I’m fine with that. Two simultaneous

The BBC gave Steve Bannon a platform – and it was fascinating

If the BBC really is, as Steve Bannon says, a communications department of the global elite, they messed up badly last night. Emily Maitlis’s 20-minute long interview with Bannon on Newsnight was mesmerising television — even, or especially, if you can’t bear the subject.  It was also the longest advertisement for economic nationalism yet delivered to British viewers. No doubt Raheem Kassam, the close Bannon associate who’s just left Breitbart and has been on Newsnight a few times himself, had something to do with it. By airing the discussion, the Beeb disproves the Bannonite idea that it is part of an elite conspiracy to silence populist points of view on immigration.

The Spectator summer party, in pictures | 6 July 2016

In recent weeks, Westminster politicians have found themselves compared to the characters of House of Cards and Game of Thrones over their post-referendum antics. Happily, parliamentarians were able to put such differences aside on Wednesday night as they took a well-deserved break from work at The Spectator summer party. As Labour’s Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall caught up with Liz Truss, Laurence Fox — the Lewis actor — put on a passionate display for the cameras with his male companion for the evening. Meanwhile with a Tory leadership contest underway, Theresa May made sure to do the rounds and rally support for her campaign at the champagne-fuelled bash. Her efforts did not go unrewarded, with Fox confiding to