Princess Diana: BBC postpones Panorama film on interview with Martin Bashir

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By Dulcie Lee-BBC News

https://www.bbc.com-image copyright Getty Images

image caption Almost 23 million people saw the Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

The BBC has postponed its broadcast of a Panorama investigation into reporter Martin Bashir’s 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

Panorama was expected to examine claims that Bashir used fake bank statements to convince Diana to do the interview.

The film was due to air on BBC One on Monday but the broadcaster said it had been delayed due to a “significant duty of care issue”.

Bashir left the corporation earlier this week due to ongoing health issues.

A new date for the programme has not yet been confirmed.

The 58-year-old was BBC News religion editor and was seriously ill with Covid-19 when the allegations emerged late last year. He has since undergone a quadruple heart bypass and another heart operation more recently.

The decision to push back the Panorama episode comes shortly after a separate investigation into the interview – led by Lord Dyson – had concluded.

The BBC said Bashir had co-operated fully with the inquiry and would not comment publicly while that process was ongoing.

Lord Dyson, who was Master of the Rolls – the second most senior judge in England and Wales, had been tasked with looking into the steps Bashir and the corporation took to get the interview.

His report has been given to the BBC, which the broadcaster said would be published “very soon”.

 

Nearly 23 million people tuned in to watch the Panorama interview, recorded 25 years ago.

In the interview, Diana famously said that “there were three of us in this marriage”, referring to Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles. At the time she was separated from Prince Charles but not yet divorced.

The princess also talked frankly about her difficulties with post-natal depression and bulimia.

Diana’s son, the Duke of Cambridge, welcomed the launch of the inquiry late last year and his brother, the Duke of Sussex, reportedly also supported it.

Questions arose late last year over the interview, which was one of the most watched BBC programmes of all time and won Bashir a Bafta TV award.

 

Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, said Bashir had used forged bank statements to persuade the princess to do the interview.

It was reported by the Daily Mail that the statements wrongly purported to show that two senior courtiers were being paid by the security services for information on his sister.

The BBC has previously apologised for the use of the statements, but has insisted they played “no part in her decision to take part in the interview”.

In March, police ruled out a criminal investigation into the background to the interview.

 

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