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Rufus Sewell says he modelled Prince Andrew car crash interview performance on David Brent

Rufus Sewell has said he modelled his performance of Prince Andrew in the royal’s car crash interview on the comedy character David Brent.

The actor said he was inspired by Ricky Gervais’ character from The Office as he tried to “find a line where the humour of it lay” when he was preparing for the role of the Duke of York in the upcoming Netflix show Scoop.

"To me, it's a horrible thing, but watching the interview, his performance reminded me of David Brent more than anything else,” he told The Mirror. “That's not to be ignored."

Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew in the Netflix drama about his explosive interview (PA)
Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew in the Netflix drama about his explosive interview (PA)

Brent, an awfully bad manager at a paper company, comes across as a laughably tragic figure in the mockumentary, believing that his team admire him when they in fact dislike him and think he is not up to his job.

Sewell, 56, spoke of his decision to accept the part of the 64-year-old duke in the Netflix dramatisation of the royal’s fateful 2019 Newsnight interview.

The prince was grilled by British journalist Emily Maitlis over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as well as his relationship with Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17. Andrew has always strongly denied all claims.

Sewell said: "When I read the script, my immediate feeling was, 'Yeah, I think I could do this’. Of course, I thought of the possible repercussions. And then I thought, 'F*** it, I'm not gonna get a knighthood anyway'."

Sewell modelled his Prince Andrew on David Brent, played by Ricky Gervais, star of comedy The Office
Sewell modelled his Prince Andrew on David Brent, played by Ricky Gervais, star of comedy The Office

Sewell believes it was poor judgement that led Andrew to agree to the interview.

"I think he feels a genuine sense of victimhood, and how not fair everything is, which is quite palpable,” he said. “It's also a very, very limited imagination as to the humanity of other people. I think he has enormous compassion and sympathy... for himself."

The producer of Scoop, Hilary Salmon, spoke of the importance of striking the right balance between the seriousness of the sex crimes committed by Andrew’s friend Jeffrey Epstein and the prince’s outlandish claims.

In the infamous interview, the royal insisted he could not have had sex with Ms Giuffre in London on 10 March 2001 as alleged, because he had taken his daughter to a birthday party at the Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, prompting worldwide mockery.

The Duke of York being grilled by British journalist Emily Maitlis in explosive 2019 interview (BBC/PA)
The Duke of York being grilled by British journalist Emily Maitlis in explosive 2019 interview (BBC/PA)

Ms Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, also claimed they attended Tramp nightclub together and recalled Andrew being “sweaty” as they danced. But he said it could not have been him as he was unable to sweat at the time as a result of trauma caused by serving in the Falklands War.

Ms Salmon said: "There was no getting away from the fact that what he did, and the answers he gave, were absurd as well as jaw-droppingly outrageous and impossible not to laugh at really."

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Ms Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met. Following the interview, the duke was also cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style.