Michael Sheen & Ruth Wilson to Lead 'A Very Royal Scandal'

Ruth Wilson in "His Dark Materials" / Michael Sheen in "Good Omens"

Ruth Wilson in "His Dark Materials" / Michael Sheen in "Good Omens"

(Photos: HBO and Prime Video)

Another round of Scandal is heading its way to Prime Video, and this time the anthology series will tackle a much more recent (and uncomfortable) story. The streamer is moving ahead with A Very Royal Scandal, a three-part drama that follows Prime Video's previous efforts, A Very English Scandal starring Hugh Grant (The Undoing) and Ben Whishaw (This is Going to Hurt) and A Very British Scandal starring Claire Foy (The Crown) and Paul Bettany (WandaVision). This latest series will focus on the bombshell 2019 Newsnight interview with Queen Elizabeth II's son, Prince Andrew, in which he disastrously tried to explain his "friendship" with the American financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

Though Andrew is reported to have initially believed the interview went well before it was broadcast, it was an utter disaster, during which he failed to show any remorse for his friendship with Epstein, could not explain why he continued to associate with the man after his conviction for sexual offenses related to underage girls, or express things like basic sympathy for the victims. He also attempted to refute allegations that he himself had a sexual relationship with an underage girl who had been trafficked by Epstein, deploying a barrage of truly bizarre claims and excuses, including that he had been in a Pizza Express in Woking on the night the encounter with his alleged victim Virginia Giuffre was supposed to have taken place. (He also claimed he had a rare condition that meant he couldn't sweat, among other things.)

The Newsnight interview essentially ended Prince Andrew’s career as a working royal. He was banned from appearing at public events with the family, except in cases where he could appear as a private citizen (he was allowed to attend the funeral of his mother last year), stripped of many of his patronages, and barred from styling himself as “His Royal Highness.” 

According to Variety, A Very Royal Scandal will focus on Newsnight journalist Emily Maitlis, following her professional and personal journey leading up to her bombshell interview. Ruth Wilson (The Woman in the Wall) will reportedly play Maitlis, while Michael Sheen (The Way) takes on the role of the disgraced Prince Andrew. Though Sheen has reached a whole new level of popularity thanks to his involvement in Prime Video's adaptation of Good Omens, he has a long history of playing complicated real-life figures, including Prime Minister Tony Blair (The Queen, The Deal, The Special Relationship), journalist David Frost (Frost/Nixon), controversial football manager Brian Clough (The Damned Unitedand the game show host at the heart of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? cheating scandal (Quiz). 

The series cast will also include Joanna Scanlan (The Larkins) as Amanda Thirsk, Alex Jennings (The Undeclared War) as Sir Edward Young, and Éanna Hardwicke (The Sixth Commandment) as Stewart Maclean.

A Very Royal Scandal will be written by Jeremy Brock and directed by Julian Jarrod. The new series is produced by Blueprint Television for Amazon MGM Studios, and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Television. Karen Thrussell, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Diarmuid McKeown, Brock, Jarrold, and Maitlis herself serve as executive producers. Josh Hyams serves as a producer on the series.

Production on the project is currently underway in the U.K.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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