- BBC World News
The BBC’s “interview of the century” with Princess Diana 25 years ago generates a new controversy.
The BBC announced that it plans to conduct an internal investigation to determine whether the journalist who conducted the interview, Martin Bashin, acted maliciously so that the then wife of Prince Charles of England agreed to speak in front of the cameras.
The interview, broadcast in November 1995, was viewed by more than 20 million Britons and was considered the “first of the century”as many journalists had tried unsuccessfully to interview Diana of Wales.
It was in it that Diana revealed why she had parted ways with Prince Charles, a major scandal involving the British royal family.
“There were three of us in that marriage,” Diana said in front of the cameras, referring to her husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, who is now married to Carlos.
Diana also acknowledged that she had had a lover while she was married.
Last week the British newspaper Daily Mail posted an interview with Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, who introduced journalist Martin Bashir to the princess at the time, making it easy for her to land the famous interview.
Spencer assures that Bashir managed to win its trust and of Diana by making them believe that there was a conspiracy of the royal family against the princess.
However, according to Daily Mail, the claims made by Bashir were lies created by the journalist with the intention of gaining trust of the princess and that she granted him the exclusive interview.
What evidence did they present?
Diana’s brother makes his accusation on the basis of notes he took from a meeting with Bashir three months before the interview.
The BBC journalist would have listed a series of accusations about a alleged secret surveillance network. He would also have assured that the princess’s correspondence had been violated, that her car was being followed and that her telephone had been tapped.
He was also told that a watch belonging to his son, Prince William, had a device that could record conversations. According to the Daily Mail report, this and other “extraordinary” reports were considered “fanciful” by Spencer, who became suspicious of Bashir.
The journalist also presented Bank statements of people who worked for the royal family. However, these documents had been counterfeited by a designer graphic, at the request of the BBC journalist.
Bashir allegedly told Diana’s brother that these excerpts showed that people close to the princess were receiving money from the British secret services, allegedly in exchange for inside information about Diana.
However, Diana and Bashir had already met and Bashir gained the attention of the princess, according to her brother.
The BBC, which had already conducted an investigation into the matter and acquitted the journalist in the 1990s, has now pledged to carry out another investigation.
A key part of the original investigation, which aimed to determine whether Diana had been persuaded to give the interview through false premises, was a handwritten declaration of princess in which claimed not to have seen excerpts banking counterfeit and that they did not play any role in their decision to participate in the interview.
In a statement, the BBC said that “unfortunately, we are limited by the fact that we cannot discuss any of this with Martin Bashir, who is seriously ill. When he recovers, we will certainly conduct an investigation into these matters.”
Martin Bashir is now the BBC’s religion correspondent. He is on sick leave, as he suffered complications from heart surgery and also from covid-19, which he contracted earlier this year.
According to Diana’s brother, the falsified bank statements submitted by Bashir were instrumental in his decision to introduce Diana to him.
BBC Royal Household correspondent Jonny Dymond said he saw Charles Spencer’s notes on the case.
They appear to record Bashir telling “lies and more lies about members of the royal family and their team, in an attempt, according to Spencer, to gain their trust and that of his sister Diana.”
Bashir also accused the princess’s bodyguard of plotting against her and her close friends of leaking stories to the press.
The 1995 interview with Diana on the BBC’s Panorama program was one of the most relevant in British television history and exacerbated the dispute between the princess and the royal family.
At that moment, Princess Diana yes she was separated from Prince Charles, but had not yet been divorced.
An in-house 1996 investigation by then-BBC News Director (and future CEO) Tony Hall, only now revealed to the public thanks to access to information laws, showed that the BBC concluded at the time that Martin Bashir was “an honest man”.
That same investigation concluded with the dismissal of the graphic designer Matt Wiessler, who created the fake bank statements.
However, Wiessler claims that he made the extracts at Bashir’s request. without knowing what they would be used for, and that he only realized the link between the interview and his work after the talk was broadcast.
“It’s a bit like blaming the pen for writing a nasty letter. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the post through the access to information law. I was absolutely shocked that at a board meeting [de la BBC] that summoned to find out what Martin had done, I became a scapegoat, “Wiessler said in an interview this week for the BBC.
“I don’t know how it is possible to tell a story in which a graphic designer takes the blame for using copied documents as forged. I’ve lived with this for 25 years“.
Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, says the forged documents were instrumental in securing the interview with his sister and that without them the princess would not have participated in the BBC program.
The BBC has apologized for the false bank statements, but insists it “had no role in their decision. [de Diana] to participate in the interview. “
Since the revelations of the Daily MailAs well as a documentary on Channel 4 television, the BBC has come under fire.
Charles Spencer says the 1996 investigation by the corporation’s then-news director Tony Hall was done only to cover up the culprits.
The graphic designer says the BBC investigation ruined his career.
“Let them look at the damage he’s done and certainly apologize publicly. My kids know that people call me a counterfeiter. I was a renowned graphic designer.
When asked why he hadn’t talked about this before, he replied: “Because I’m nobody. Who would I talk to? I had to do something to reinvent myself, start a new life. I moved 250 miles [400 km] From london. And it also affected my self-confidence. “
The current CEO of the BBC, Tim Davie -who took office this year- said Monday that the corporation se is taking the case “very seriously” and that the will investigate everything until the truth is discovered.
“We are in the process of ordering a robust and independent investigation,” he said.
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Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.