Allan Scott: The Queens Gambit Writer & Producer


Manage episode 283066559 series 2342396
By Rob Moore. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Today on the show, Rob is delighted and privileged to be joined by Allan Scott, a screenwriter, producer and former whisky executive. Allan co-wrote and produced the infamous and hugely successful Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit, a coming of age drama centred around a chess prodigy who struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world. Allan talks to Rob about the process of getting the series produced by Netflix after buying the rights of the book the series is based on in 1985 and the lessons he has learned along the way including prejudice and ageism. He also shares with the audience some amusing anecdotes.


  • The Queen’s Gambit is not just a chess story, it’s a story about the orphaned girl central to the story, a girl who lost her mother, was put away in an uncaring orphanage and ignored. Ultimately, it’s a wonderful story about empowerment, chess is the instrument by which she does it. Use your power skills in the same way to reach your personal or professional goals.

  • The story had to be written and produced for an audience who may not understand chess. Garry Kasparov, ten-time world chess champion read the seven episodes and advised that the words check or checkmate would never be used in world-class chess. It had to be indicated to the audience somehow that the players were struggling or doing well. Don’t be afraid to engage the skills and expertise of other people to increase your knowledge.

  • The Queen’s Gambit was a long time in the making. The rights were bought from the writer Walter Tevis’s estate back in 1985. Eight or nine different studios were approached to make a movie based on the book, but there appeared to be prejudice over the idea of a movie about chess. Eventually, after meeting Scott Frank the director, he suggested expanding the story and approaching Netflix. A perfect example of perseverance. Be prepared for rejection and setbacks in your journey to success!

  • The Media very often discuss movies in terms of the Director. People undervalue the contribution that’s brought to a show by the set designer, the production designer, the cameraman. This is also true in all business - teamwork is key, it’s not just about the person at the top.

  • Social Media has changed marketing massively. The use of social media has helped spread the word and contributed to the ongoing success of the Queen’s Gambit - another indication the power of social media has in all areas of life.

  • Motivation shouldn’t always be about commercial gain. Do things so that people can share the same experience, this is very powerful.


‘We all discover something we’re good at when we’re young even if it’s something trivial like juggling and we take a wonderful pleasure in this skill’

‘There’s nothing I like more than watching an audience respond favourably’

‘I couldn’t do the next movie unless I thought it was going to be the best one’

‘Good ideas sometimes have continuing parallel, especially if the premise is good’

‘Once you can see you have a value, you will learn how to handle that value’

‘At the end of the day, if you’re not focused on the project and what the values of the project are, you’re not going to have any deals to deal with’

‘I believe if you have written something good someone will find it’

‘The best movies are about engaging the audience's emotion. You need four scenes where the audience gasps or admires or laughs; it just has to be an emotional high for a moment’

‘You have to be slightly wisened and canny about money but at the end of the day, please concentrate only on the project’


Allan Scott is a Scottish screenwriter and producer and former Scotch whisky executive. He was nominated for BAFTA’s Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film and a Genie Award for his 1997 film Regeneration. He is the originator, co-producer and co-writer of the stage musical adaption of the 1990s filmThe Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” opened in Sydney in October 2006 and has since become the most successful Australian stage musical of all time. More recently, he was executive producer and co-creator of the hugely successful The Queen’s Gambit, adapted from the Walter Tevis novel for Netflix. It was shown in 2020 and is an American coming of age period drama set during the Cold War era and centres around an orphaned chess prodigy who struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.



Rob Moore is an author of 9 business books, 5 UK bestsellers, holds 3 world records for public speaking, entrepreneur, property investor, and property educator. Author of the global bestseller "Life Leverage" Host of UK's No.1 business podcast "The Disruptive Entrepreneur."

"If you don't risk anything, you risk everything."


Rob’s official website:



See for privacy information.

656 episodes