Prince Philip dies: BBC postpones Panorama probe into Diana interview
BBC postpones Panorama probe into Martin Bashir’s Princess Diana interview and ‘will not show it until after Prince Philip’s funeral’
- The BBC has allegedly postponed broadcast of Panorama probe on Diana
- Episode investigated Martin Bashir’s bombshell 1995 interview with princess
- Decision was allegedly made on Friday after Philip’s death to delay broadcast
The BBC has allegedly postponed the broadcast on Monday of a Panorama episode into Martin Bashir’s infamous Princess Diana bombshell interview until after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday.
The Panorama probe on how the BBC’s current religious affairs editor secured his interview with Diana – effectively an investigation into itself – was reportedly due to air on Monday night in a 30-minute prime time slot.
But sources now claim that a decision was taken on Friday following news of Prince Philip’s death at Windsor Castle to postpone the screening, with a new slot to be found in the schedules for the programme.
They told the Telegraph that there was ‘no way’ the BBC could run the investigation into the 1995 interview on Monday, given the fallout from it helped to speed up the divorce of Diana from Prince Charles.
‘It was due out then but a decision was made within minutes of the Duke’s death to postpone the broadcast,’ they said. ‘There’s no new date yet but it will now wait until after the Duke’s funeral and will run at some point after that.’
The Panorama programme, when it is eventually broadcast, is expected to be highly critical of Bashir, who is accused of faking a bank statement which was then shown to Earl Spencer, the late princess’ brother.
However, the BBC has reportedly denied that the Panorama episode was being broadcast on Monday, with one source telling the Telegraph it had never been billed and so could not have been pulled. MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment.
The BBC has allegedly postponed the broadcast on Monday of a Panorama probe into Martin Bashir’s Princess Diana bombshell interview until after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral
It emerged that Bashir had commissioned graphic designer Matt Wiessler to forge bank statements to convince Diana that her staff were leaking stories about her
In the sensational interview, the princess revealed that there were ‘three people in my marriage’ – a reference to her estranged husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall.
Five months after the broadcast, it emerged that Bashir had commissioned graphic designer Matt Wiessler to forge bank statements to convince Diana that her staff were leaking stories about her.
The BBC launched its own investigation the following year, overseen by Tony Hall, then head of news and current affairs, who retired as director-general in August.
The investigation concluded: ‘The BBC has been able, independently, to verify that these documents were put to no use which had any bearing, direct or indirect, on the Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales.’
But fresh publicity around the anniversary of the interview last year prompted Earl Spencer to call for another investigation.
The Panorama investigation into Bashir is being conducted by freelance journalist John Ware, a former Panorama reporter who is thought to have found damning new evidence like to undermine the BBC’s own inquiry.
In 2004 Mr Ware examined the Today programme’s report into the death of Dr David Kelly. His Panorama programme, A Fight To The Death, triggered the Hutton Inquiry.
In the sensational interview, the princess revealed that there were ‘three people in my marriage’ – a reference to her estranged husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles
Lord Dyson, a former Master of the Rolls, was commissioned by the BBC to investigate claims about how the interview was obtained.
The former Supreme Court judge is examining claims that the BBC covered up a trail of deceit and forgery, and that Bashir allegedly peddled 32 lies and vile smears to the vulnerable princess to land his interview.
However, Bashir is believed to have told Lord Dyson it was Diana, rather than him, who was to blame for the vast majority of the shocking comments.
Earl Spencer said he introduced Diana to Bashir but was astonished as the BBC journalist fed her lies about her bodyguard plotting against her, her friends betraying her and MI6 taping Charles and his private secretary planning the ‘end game’.
At one meeting, Bashir showed Diana’s brother fake bank statements that he ordered a blameless BBC graphics artist to forge, purporting to show Earl Spencer’s security head was in the pocket of a newspaper group.
Lord Dyson, who is expected to heavily criticise Bashir as well as senior corporation executives, will deliver his findings late this month or in early May.
Bashir has declined to speak publicly since the row over the interview resurfaced last year, citing his ill health from Covid and recovery from a quadruple heart bypass.
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