Scoops – Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews | How To Academy


Fri, 5 August 2022

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

Scoops – Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews

Yalda Hakim Meets Sam McAlister

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Meet the producer responsible for the biggest scoops in broadcasting, including the explosive TV interview with Prince Andrew that changed the way we view the Royal Family forever.

Sam McAlister is the woman who clinched the 2019 TV interview with Prince Andrew described as ‘a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion’.

To her former BBC colleagues she was the ‘booker extraordinaire,’ responsible for securing many of Newsnight’s exclusive interviews over the past decade including Stormy Daniels, Sean Spicer, Brigitte Höss, Steven Seagal, Mel Greig and Julian Assange.

In this free livestream In Conversation event with Yalda Hakim, she reveals the story behind that interview and the secrets of her trade. She also shares her personal story as the first in her family to go to university, a trained barrister and a single mum, who against the odds, proved her worth in a fast-paced, hard-hitting TV newsroom.

After 12 years producing content for Newsnight, McAlister reflects with candour on her experience, sharing not just how the news gets made, but also changes at the BBC, the future of ‘mainstream media’ in the age of clickbait and the role of power and privilege in shaping our media landscape.

Praise for Sam McAlister’s Scoops:

‘Behind every great interview is a great booker – Sam McAlister is one of the unsung heroes of television news.’ Piers Morgan

‘Sam delivers where others fail. She has a zinger of a story to tell.’ Huw Edwards

‘Sam McAlister is a force of nature – she has relentlessly pursued scoops for her entire career. And this is the book to prove it.’ Steph McGovern

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Sam McAlister


Sam McAlister trained as a criminal barrister before deciding her real passion was in news. She has received a BAFTA-nomination and an award for Women in Film and TV for her work with BBC Newsnight. She lives in London.

Yalda Hakim

Foreign Correspondent

Yalda Hakim is an award-winning foreign correspondent and currently anchors the flagship program ‘Impact with Yalda Hakim’ on BBC World News. In addition to her presenting duties, Yalda continues to deliver hard-hitting journalism not only for the Our World strand, but also across BBC News in both television and radio.