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Infamous Prince Andrew interview lands on Netflix as a film



Gillian Anderson playing journalist Emily Maitlis on Netflix drama Scoop
Gillian Anderson and Rufus Sewell stars in Scoop | Photo: Netflix

I was on a break in Portugal when BBC Newsnight aired Emily Maitlis’s 2019 interview with Prince Andrew, challenging him about his friendship with American sex trafficker and abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Having extended my stay in Lisbon after finishing covering a Web summit two weeks earlier, I was not even aware of the teasers announcing the Royal interview in the UK. It was only when I landed back in London, a day after the broadcast, that news headlines and Twitter ablaze made me realize the true dimension of the PR disaster that a deluded Prince Andrew thought had gone well after shooting it – until the outpouring of criticism, once the interview was broadcast on November 16th, swiftly brought him back to earth, resulting in the monarch being stripped of his military titles and patronages, and leading the Duke of York to announce he would be stepping down from royal duties on November 20th, four days after the Newsnight interview aired.

Although Gillian Anderson looks perfect as an ever-so-calm Emily Maitlis (the resemblance to the real Maitlis, an award-winning journalist who has since left the BBC, is uncanny), and Rufus Sewell allegedly spending up to four hours a day in prosthetics and makeup to bring a sweat-free Prince Andrew to life, it is Billie Piper who steals the show in the new Netflix drama with her portrayal of Sam McAlister, the Newsnight booker who first secured the interview with Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite child, Andrew. The film is based on ‘Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews’, a book written by McAlister herself.

Perhaps the main reason I resonate with Piper’s character is that, as a journalist and TV producer for over 10 years, I know all too well how bookers, fixers, producers, and all those professionals grafting behind the scenes are rarely acknowledged for their real contributions. I can’t even count how many times I’ve inquired about the possibility of having a screen credit after working on a special report for weeks, only to be told, ‘Freelancers can’t be credited due to internal editorial guidelines,’ or simply, ‘Sorry, it was an oversight. We will try to remember to add your credit next time. Good job.’ Unfortunately, the same oversight often continued to occur.

I also strongly relate to McAlister in the way she feels like an outsider within her news gathering team, even after managing to secure a job at the BBC and working as a producer on the BBC Newsnight program, where she stayed for 10 years.

Unlike Sam, I didn’t manage to secure a job at the BBC, though.

When I first applied for a vacancy at the BBC 15 years ago, in 2009, I didn’t think much of it when I was turned down less than a month later. My experience and credits within the broadcasting industry were limited, and I accepted that hundreds of more experienced journalists would have made it to a second round of interviews. Fine.

Years later, after producing coverages of the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, I spotted another opening and tried to secure a job at the BBC Broadcasting House once again. Within weeks, a similar email from the BBC recruitment team landed in my inbox:

“On this occasion you haven’t been selected for the role, however we would like to thank you for your investment of time, effort and interest in the role and for your application. 

I’m afraid that we’re unable to share any feedback on your application at this stage, but we hope this will not discourage you from considering other roles and opportunities in the BBC in the future.”

The BBC is the world’s leading public service broadcaster, and I am aware that I am not the only person who has tried to get a job there and been turned down multiple times. It was probably very naïve of me to think that, as a multimedia journalist who speaks three languages, the fact that the British Broadcasting Corporation employs over 21,000 staff would make it a little bit easier to secure one of those vacancies myself. So, after two failed attempts, I waited a few more years before applying to work at the BBC again.

As the media industry is especially tough to break into, regardless of the country you are in, Britain would be no exception.

In 2017, I went back to school and got a Factual Development and Production Diploma from the National Film and Television School (NFTS), all while coordinating commercial shootings in over 20 countries. Following that, I produced special coverages for overseas TV channels, working on features ranging from immigration to travel and business affairs.

Having heard many times that you should never give up after failing twice to achieve something, as the third time is the charm, I decided to give it one more try and applied for a Producer role at the BBC – yet again, without success.

It turns out that if you don’t have the right contacts within the media industry or are a migrant (or both, in my case), it is easier to make Prince Andrew break a sweat – or bump into a member of the Royal family at a Pizza Express in Woking – than to break into the close-knit British media.

Billie Piper (left) plays Sam McAlister in Scoop | Photo: Netflix

In “Scoop,” Sam McAlister eventually gets recognized by former Newsnight editor Esme Wren (played by Romolo Garai), who the day after the interview was recorded, tweeted:

“Full credit to our indefatigable interview producer @SamMcAlister1 for securing this world exclusive”.

The real Sam McAlister ended up quitting the BBC in 2021 and is now a Visiting Senior Fellow in Practice at the London School of Economics, where she teaches negotiations.

Also in 2021, BBC Newsnight editor Esme Wren, who oversaw the program’s infamous interview with Prince Andrew, quit the broadcaster to join Channel 4 news.

According to a title card before the credits roll up in Scoop, Prince Andrew paid £12 million ($16.3 million) to Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) in 2022 to settle a lawsuit she brought against him – despite the Duke of York saying that he has “no recollection of ever meeting” Roberts, who claims that she had sex with the Prince three times, including once in London in 2001 when she was 17 and being trafficked by Epstein.

Life for Prince Andrew, however, remains relatively good. He may have lost his annual £250,000 handout after it was cut by King Charles, but he still lives in a 30-room Royal Lodge in Windsor.

As for me, I am still yet to land any role at the BBC UK. However, if the recent announcement made by Director-General of the BBC, Tim Davie, who revealed a further £200m of cuts to the corporation while speaking at the Royal Television Society in central London last month, is anything to go by, I should really not hold my breath.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.


Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep



Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films



Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films
The Science Behind Pixar can be seen at CaixaForum Madrid until 8 September.

CaixaForum Madrid is currently hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibition, created by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. The exhibition is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the steps in the process Pixar uses to transform an idea into a film. With specific examples from some of their most famous films, the public will be able to experiment with the techniques behind the modelling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering of animated films.

This is the third collaboration between the ”la Caixa” Foundation and Pixar Studios. In 2015, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, represented a thorough review of this pioneering company’s work in computer animation in its 25 years of history. Subsequently, Pixar, Building Characters (which has travelled to five CaixaForums since 2020) focused on the visual design of the Pixar characters to best transmit the story and fit in with the other elements of the film. Now, the eight sections of The Science Behind Pixar will give visitors an insight into every stage of the technical process used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists

The aim of the new exhibition is to peel away, layer by layer and in a way that is attractive for all audiences, the scientific, computer and mathematical concepts that lie behind our favourite Pixar characters. To do this, the exhibition is organised into eight sections, each of which explains in depth one specific step of Pixar’s technical process: Modelling, which allows characters to be created in 3D; Rigging, in which the virtual bones, muscles and joints are developed; design of Surfaces and Sets; Animation, which brings the story to life; Simulation, which provides automated movements; Lighting, which enhances the emotional impact, and Rendering, which turns 3D scenes into 2D images.

Throughout 815 square metres in CaixaForum Madrid, visitors will learn about all these steps that Pixar pays passionate attention to in order to bring its worlds and characters to life. Dozens of interactive and audiovisual elements will reveal what is hidden behind Pixar films, from the first-ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story – which opened over two decades ago, to the release of Turning Red.

To better understand the science and maths that go into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, visitors will see audiovisuals and hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.

In the Sets & Cameras section, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life; in Modelling, they will try their hand at creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch and in Lighting they will use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo. The exhibition route also includes human-size recreations of many Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story), Dory (Finding Nemo), Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Edna Mode (The Incredibles) and WALL·E (from the film of the same name).

Throughout the months that the exhibition will remain at CaixaForum Madrid, the ”la Caixa” Foundation will be offering various activities to bring the art and science of Pixar closer to all audiences. In addition, the general public can take a guided tour and families can choose between the family tour and the animated stories workshop-tour, where visitors can make a short, animated clip to understand all the phases of the creative process after visiting the exhibition.

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Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest with non-binary singer



Non-binary singer Nemo, winner of the Eurovision 2024
Singer Nemo performed ‘The Code’ for Switzerland | Photo: Alma Bengtsson

After the very last set of scores had come in, The Code, performed by rapper Neno, was announced as the clear champion of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with a points tally of 591 and a lead of 44 points. 

Croatia finished in second place with Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna on 547 points. The other spot on the podium finish went to Ukraine, ending up in third place thanks to alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their song Teresa & Maria, on 453 points.

Scores on the night were awarded in two stages, as is traditional at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first results to come in were from the juries, followed by the reveal of the public vote.

Once the initial points from 37 juries had come in, Switzerland already had secured the lead on the scoreboard with 365 points.

Nemo is the first nonbinary artist to win Eurovision.

“I’m mostly just really grateful for this experience and all the friends I’ve made along the way. This was one of the most queer representations we’ve seen at Eurovision which was amazing, I want to shout out all the other queer artists this year,” said the artist who was born in Biel, a small bilingual town in Switzerland.

Nemo’s triumph in Malmö is Switzerland’s third win at the Eurovision Song Contest to date, following victory by Lys Assia in 1956 and Céline Dion in 1988.

Switzerland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition, which it also hosted. 

It has been a controversial year for the song contest festival launched in 1956. For weeks, the question of whether Israel should be allowed to compete or not while engaged in a military conflict in Gaza dominated the media surrounding the event and attracted pro-Palestine activists to the Swedish city of Malmö. Eden Golan, a 20-year old singer representing Israel, was booed during a dress rehearsal; It has been reported that she was confined to her hotel room, while in Malmo to perform at Eurovision, after a series of threats against the Israeli delegation. Hours before the grand final, on May 11th, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who represented the Netherlands, was disqualified from Eurovision 2024 over what the organisers described as an “incident” involving a female member of the production crew.

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