Princess Diana and Martin Bashir: Former BBC director-generals to be quizzed by MPs over Panorama interview

Former BBC director-generals Lord Tony Hall and Lord John Birt will face questions over how Martin Bashir obtained the world exclusive interview with Princess Diana.

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC
Diana, Princess of Wales, during her interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC

MPs will quiz former BBC director-generals Lord Tony Hall and Lord John Birt about events leading up to Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

They will also face questions over how Bashir obtained the world exclusive, with a recent report by Lord Dyson criticising the methods used by the journalist to secure the 1995 interview - including using fake bank statements.

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Former BBC News religion editor Martin Bashir, who has said he "never wanted to harm" Diana with the interview and does not believe he did

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At a glance: 5 key points

- Lord Dyson’s report also suggested the BBC had failed to uphold “governance, accountability and scrutiny” with its internal investigation, carried out by Lord Hall in 1996.

- The report also said Bashir used “deceitful conduct” to obtain the 1995 interview with the princess, which was then covered up by a “woefully ineffective” internal investigation.

- Graphic designer Matt Wiessler was sidelined by the corporation after raising concerns that fake bank statements he mocked up for Bashir had been used by the journalist to persuade Diana to do the interview.

- A review into the decision to appoint Bashir as religious affairs correspondent at the BBC following the interview found “no evidence” the journalist was given the job to “contain and/or cover” up the events surrounding the programme

- Current BBC director-general Tim Davie and chairman Richard Sharp will also appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to give evidence.


Diana’s interview was a huge exclusive for the BBC, as a member of the Royal Family had never disclosed so many details about other royals.

Speaking candidly during the interview, Diana revealed much about her marriage to Prince Charles and her struggles with life in the Royal Family.

She admitted having an affair and being in love with James Hewitt, while saying Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles had made her feel worthless.

In relation to the affair with his now-wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Diana uttered the famous line: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

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