The biggest bombshell tell-all interviews in TV history

Brian McIver
·Contributor
·4-min read
Michael Jackson, Richard Nixon and Princess Diana were all grilled for television (Getty)
Michael Jackson, Richard Nixon and Princess Diana were all grilled for television (Getty)

It’s the TV interview the whole world is waiting for.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — are sharing all with chat show legend Oprah Winfrey in what is expected to be the biggest television encounter in years.

Billed as the couple's chance to respond to critics and properly tell their side of the story following their decision to step back from royal duties, the broadcast is expected to be watched by tens of millions around the world. It will air on ITV on Monday night at 9am.

Viewers will be waiting to see if the couple reveal more about life with the Royal Family and their treatment from the establishment and the media, to friend Winfrey, a guest at their royal wedding in 2018.

Read more: Why Meghan's use of 'The Firm' is causing controversy

It’s the latest in a long line of exclusive tell-alls from major public figures, from fellow royals to disgraced politicians and controversial celebrities revealing all.

Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis

The most recent Windsor interview to make headlines was Prince Andrew’s shock sit-down with Emily Maitlis for a Newsnight special following accusations about his connections to the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The interview from November 2019 featured his denial that he’d slept with accuser Virginia Roberts because he was at the Pizza Express in Woking when she claimed they'd been together, and his claim that he doesn’t sweat due to the adrenaline of being shot at in the Falklands war.

Princess Diana and Martin Bashir

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama. (Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for Panorama. (© Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The most famous Royal family interview of all featured Harry’s mother Diana.

The Princess of Wales famously revealed the truth about life with Prince Charles and ‘The Firm’ as she referred to the Windsors, in a shock chat with Martin Bashir in 1995, watched by 22.8m people.

She told how she had always felt there were “three of us” in her marriage, referring to Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall after marrying Charles in 2005. She was also open about suffering from eating disorders and self-harm.

Read more: Meghan says it’s liberating being able to speak for herself

The live BBC Panorama special was a worldwide sensation, and rocked the Royal family — she and Charles divorced a year later.

Michael Jackson and Martin Bashir

Bashir also conducted an in-depth interview with Michael Jackson in May 2002, following eight months of meetings between the two.

The shock report featured Jackson’s admission that he shared a bed with children, and while he denied there was anything sexual in it, said kids wanted “to be touched, to be held.”

The film, watched by 15m in the UK and 38m in the US, also featured Jackson meeting 13-year-old cancer patient Gavin Arvizo who — after the broadcast was released — accused the singer of sexual abuse.

Bashir was called to testify in a subsequent court case, in which the singer was found not guilty. The late singer's estate continue to deny all allegations.

Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey

Michael Jackson talks with Oprah Winfrey in this televised interview recorded October 2nd, 1993. SCANNED FROM NEGATIVE. REUTERS/Sam Emerson  PN
Michael Jackson talks with Oprah Winfrey in their televised interview. (REUTERS/Sam Emerson PN)

Almost a decade earlier, in 1993 and before accusations of child abuse had surfaced, Jackson had participated in the most watched TV sit-down ever, with 90m people tuning in to watch him give his first interview for 14 years, with Oprah Winfrey.

He spoke about his skin lightening condition vitiligo, his plastic surgery and the violence he’d suffered at the hands of his father. The first allegations against his behaviour towards children emerged later that year.

Monica Lewinsky and Barbara Walters

Walt Disney Television via Getty Images NEWS -
Monica Lewinsky, whose explicit sexual affair with President Bill Clinton resulted in Clinton's impeachment, broke her longtime silence to talk with Barbara Walters on "20/20" (Virginia Sherwood/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) BARBARA WALTERS, MONICA LEWINSKY

The White House was the subject of one of the biggest blockbuster tell-alls in 1999, when Monica Lewinsky sat down with senior US journalist Barbara Walters. 

74m people watched her reveal the truth about her relationship with then president Bill Clinton, when she apologised to his family, and the American people, for the affair.

Richard Nixon and David Frost

David Frost interviewing former Pres. Richard Nixon in rented house near Nixon's in San Clemente, CA.  (Photo by John Bryson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
David Frost interviewing former Pres. Richard Nixon in rented house near Nixon's in San Clemente, CA. (Photo by John Bryson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The most famous apology relating to presidential matters came from former Commander-in-Chief Richard Nixon, in the iconic Frost/Nixon interviews from 1977.

45m viewers watched him finally admit to David Frost that he’d let America down over the Watergate scandal and cover up, and the encounter was turned into both a hit play and an acclaimed film.

Watch Meghan talking to Oprah about freedom.