BBC vows never to air Martin Bashir's Princess Diana interview again
The BBC will never show Martin Bashir's Panorama interview with Princess Diana again after the "shocking" way it was obtained came to light, director-general Tim Davie has vowed.
Bashir's 1995 sit-down with Princess Diana is one of the BBC's most famous interviews, but an inquiry led by Lord Dyson uncovered tactics including lying to Diana and members of her staff had been used in setting it up.
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The inquiry found the BBC covered up Bashir’s “deceitful behaviour” to secure his headline-making interview with Diana and “fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency.”
Breaches of BBC producer guidelines included faking bank statements that were sent to Diana's brother Earl Spencer, and fabricating allegations that nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke had had an affair with Prince Charles.
BBC boss Tim Davie said: “Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained, I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters.
“It does of course remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at executive committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained.
“I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.”
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The promise comes as Legge-Bourke, also known as Alexandra Pettifer, received substantial damages from the BBC over allegations about her used to secure the interview.
She appeared at the High Court in London on Thursday for a public apology from the broadcaster over “fabricated” allegations she had had an affair with the Prince of Wales while working as Charles’s personal assistant in 1995.
The BBC has previously agreed to pay Diana’s private secretary Patrick Jephson a “substantial sum” in damages, alongside former Panorama producer Mark Killick.
Prince William had previously called for the BBC never to broadcast the interview again when clips of it were aired in May 2021 in a documentary about how Bashir got the interview.
He said: “It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others."
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