Have your say: Do you trust the BBC less after the Diana interview revelations?

·5-min read
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama. (Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
The BBC was found to have covered up "deceitful behaviour" by Martin Bashir to secure his interview wih Princess Diana. (Getty)

The BBC is facing a backlash after an inquiry found it covered up "deceitful behaviour" by Martin Bashir to secure his headline-grabbing interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex have both hit out at the corporation after an inquiry from Lord Dyson found it covered up Bashir’s deceit and “fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency”.

On Friday Scotland Yard said it will "assess the contents" of the report into Bashir’s interview "to ensure there is no significant new evidence".

In a statement, it said: "In March 2021, the MPS determined it was not appropriate to begin a criminal investigation into allegations of unlawful activity in connection with a documentary broadcast in 1995 but should any significant new evidence emerge it would be assessed.

"Following the publication of Lord Dyson’s report we will assess its contents to ensure there is no significant new evidence."

Read more: More young Britons now want elected head of state as support for monarchy drops

Following the findings of the inquiry, the Duke of Cambridge said the interview had fuelled his mother's "fear, paranoia and isolation" in the final years of her life and damaged her relationship with the Prince of Wales.

He said: "The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.

"It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.

"But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived.

"She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions."

Watch: Prince William says BBC failed his mother

Calling for the documentary never to be aired again, William, 38, said: "In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important. These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too."

His brother the Duke of Sussex also hit out at the corporation, saying: "The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life."

Harry, 36, said: "Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest.

"The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life. To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it.

"That is the first step towards justice and truth. Yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these—and even worse—are still widespread today.

"Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication. Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed.

"By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for."

A new clip of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who�s pregnant with their second child after Archie, during their bombshell tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey after quitting their Royal Job, shows Meghan, Duchess of Sussex finally feeling free and ready to talk about being blocked from having her voice by royal aides. The clip aired on CBS This Morning ahead of premiere on US network on Sunday night. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry has also hit out at the BBC following the findings of the inquiry. (Getty)

On Friday it was put to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland that some people say the police should be involved following Lord Dyson’s inquiry into the 1995 Panorama Diana interview.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "That, of course, is a matter for the police and the independent prosecutorial authorities and I’m not going to say anything to prejudge or to influence any such line of inquiry.

"But I think anybody reading the headlines and the summary of Lord Dyson’s findings will be struck by his use of those words, fraud and deception and the like, and clearly those sort of issues, I’m afraid, could and do arise."

Lord Dyson's inquiry found that Bashir was in "serious breach" of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, to gain access to the princess in 1995, the report said.

The BBC has written to the royal family to apologise for the circumstances surrounding the interview, in which Diana said: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded", a reference to Camilla Parker Bowles – who Charles later married.

An internal 1996 BBC investigation into the matter led by former director-general Lord Tony Hall, who was director of BBC news and current affairs at the time, and another senior manager Anne Sloman, was described as "woefully ineffective" by Lord Dyson’s report.

Lord Hall has apologised and said: "I was wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt, basing that judgment as I did on what appeared to be deep remorse on his part."

Bashir has apologised for faking the documents and said it was “a stupid thing to do” and “an action I deeply regret”, but maintained it had “no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview”.

He said he will "always remain immensely proud of that interview".

Watch: Craig Charles open up about Harry and Meghan

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