Prince Andrew’s BBC interview likened to ‘a plane crashing into an oil tanker’

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Prince Andrew’s interview with the BBC’s Newsnight may not have been the reputation saver he expected, but it gave people on social media plenty to talk about.

BBC presenter Jeremy Vine spoke for many when he asked if anyone else was “struggling with the Woking angle?”

Andrew said he could not have been at a London nightclub on March 10, 2001, as he had been at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, Surrey that evening and went home afterwards.

Virginia Guiffre has claimed the prince had sex with her after they were introduced in Tramp nightclub that night. Guiffre, then called Jennifer Roberts, was 17 at the time:

TV presenter Giles Coren, though, was not convinced by the pizza story. “Ask him what he ordered. If he says ‘a sloppy Giuseppe’ you’ve got him. Because they didn’t introduce that till 2006.”

Comedy writer Simon Blackwell, on the other hand, seemed convinced, saying – perhaps with his tongue in his cheek – that the prince had “drawn a line under the whole thing”. Given that Blackwell is best known for his work on The Thick Of It, he should know what spin lines do or don’t work:

Former diplomat Craig Murray, who was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, said he suspected the only grain of truth it contained was the comment that Andrew never pays for drinks:

Comedian David Baddiel questioned Andrew’s grammar when saying: “That is what I would describe as me in that photo.”

Catherine Mayer, founder of the Women’s Equality Party, questioned the Prince’s intelligence, saying he was “too stupid to even pretend concern for Epstein’s victims”:

Even some of those broadly in favour of the royal family, such as Royal Central website editor Charlie Proctor, were not impressed.

“I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad,” Proctor tweeted:

Comedian Dom Joly also tweeted with a crashing theme, describing the interview as “a worse car crash than getting a lift home from Prince Philip”:

Tweet of the night, though, might go to the Pizza Express account, about the chain suddenly going viral and being bombarded by messages to “check Twitter now”:

Andrew’s revelation of having eaten at the pizza restaurant on a fateful night 18 years ago led to a spate of new online reviews for the eatery:

One reviewer wrote: “Love this place. I had a cracking pizza here in 2001. I remember it was 2001 because it was very strange the guy next to me had an American Hot pizza with extra chillies… not a drop of sweat came off him. Very odd.”

The sweating reference was a nod to prince Andrew saying in his BBC interview that a claim he was perspiring heavily at a London nightclub was wrong as he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.

But beyond the comedy, prince Andrew seemed to downplay the very serious issue of his connections with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein:

Jeffrey Epstein death
Prince Andrew speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis (Mark Harrington/BBC)

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  • Show Comments
    1. It is irritating when a report consists of series of ‘tweets’ in the manner presented here. For example –


      “I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad,” Proctor tweeted:

      I expected a train wreck.

      That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad.#Newsnight #PrinceAndrew

      — Charlie Proctor (@MonarchyUK) November 16, 2019


      An amusing remark but why must it be stated twice? Either say what somebody said or give a full quotation: not both.

    2. Why do people discussing the antics of the titled famous persist using the titles e.g. ‘Prince Andrew’ and ‘Duke of York’?

      To do so panders to an unmerited sense of entitlement and thereby bolsters fragile narcissistic egos anxious to be treated with deference.

      Some name prefixes serve useful purpose designating an occupation and/or degree of learning/wisdom. Inherited titles other than in context of historical study have become fanciful. If their bearers decline voluntarily dropping them it behoves others to set example. Mr, Mrs, Miss, and Ms are polite neutral forms of address: hence Mr Andrew Windsor.

      Similarly, present day conferred titles smack of anachronism. People appointed to the House of Lords, a process of supposed ennoblement, can function adequately without flummery. When their position in the legislature is relevant to discussion they may be introduced as Members of the House of Lords, an institution better named Senate. MPs carry their job designation post-fixed to their names; their use among themselves of ‘Honourable’ and ‘Right Honourable’, the latter designating appointment to the Privy Council, is harmless eccentricity.

      Then there are knighthoods, and a female equivalent, which are utter tosh. Somehow recipients are deemed to have passed a threshold of repute. Where that stands with respect to professional sportsmen, other ‘entertainers’, figures in the City, writers, and academics, is unclear. Seemingly it is incommensurable across occupational groups with perhaps the only comparable features being fame (either among plebeians or within a specific peer group) and/or acquisition of not quite enough wealth to justify placement in the Lords. The one thing they have in common is approbation, each within some defined group. Additional reward by positioning in a bizarre and arbitrary Byzantine hierarchy of ‘honour’ is unnecessary and foolish.

      Perhaps ‘little people’ need reassurance provided by anachronistic social structure; they know their place; whom to look upward to with envy or awe and those to look downwards upon with smug satisfaction. Meanwhile, there is no obligation upon people of discernment to play along in the silly game.

      As for Mr Andrew Windsor, he is a nonentity of interest only to people taking prurient delight from indiscretions by their ‘betters’.

    3. The problem I see is that because no British government would risk being the government which badly damaged the royal family, any British government from Thatcher to possibly Corbyn becomes open to blackmail for whatever Andrew may have done. Even Theresa May could have come under pressure do so something not in Britain’s interests rather than embarrass the monarchy.

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