Former BBC director general Lord Hall resigns from National Gallery post following Diana scandal

Lord Tony Hall was the director of news operations in 1995 when journalist Martin Bashir used fake documents in an interview with Princess Diana.

The ex-Director General of the BBC has been embroiled in the scandal.

Lord Hall, former BBC director general, has resigned from his post as chair of the National Gallery following an inquiry into a 1995 BBC Panorama interview with Princess Diana.

Lord Hall was the director of news operations at the corporation at the time the interview was conducted and aired.

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In a statement, Lord Hall said: “I have today resigned as chair of the National Gallery.

“I have always had a strong sense of public service and it is clear my continuing in the role would be a distraction to an institution I care deeply about.

“As I said two days ago, I am very sorry for the events of 25 years ago and I believe leadership means taking responsibility.”

His resignation follows days of uproar over an inquiry into the conduct of BBC journalists who famously interviewed Princess Diana in 1995: an interview in which the princess revealed shocking information about her husband’s infidelity and her struggle with bulimia.

The inquiry found that Martin Bashir, a junior reporter at the time, deceived the Princess of Wales in order to secure the interview.

The report says Bashir showed fake bank statements to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, to gain his trust and allow access to Diana.

Mr Bashir has admitted having the bank statements mocked up by a graphic artist working for the BBC.

However, when questioned by BBC bosses, he repeatedly denied showing these documents to Earl Spencer.

The report says Mr Bashir "lied and maintained the lie until he realised that it was no longer sustainable. This was most reprehensible behaviour which casts considerable doubt on his credibility generally".

The revelations have led to days of criticism of the BBC’s conduct both then and now.

Sir John Kingman, deputy chair of the National Gallery board of trustees, said of Tony Hall's departure from his National Gallery post:

“Tony Hall has been doing a superb job as chair of the National Gallery, where he is much respected and liked.

“The gallery is extremely sorry to lose him, but of course we entirely understand and respect his decision.”

And Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, thanked Lord Hall for his work at the institution.

He said of the former BBC director-general: “He has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the gallery and it has been a great pleasure to work closely with him as we have faced the challenges of Covid and as we prepare to mark the gallery’s bicentenary in 2024.”

Additional reporting by PA.