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BBC director general Tim Davie has pledged to “never” air Princess Diana’s “Panorama” interview on the network again and urged other broadcasters to follow suit.
Diana was interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir 27 years ago for the network’s “Panorama” program. An independent investigation conducted by Lord Dyson found that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.” The report also found that Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to gain access to Diana, including allegedly forging documents.
“Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained, I have decided that the BBC will never show the program again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters,” the statement began.
“It does of course remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at Executive Committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained.
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“I would urge others to exercise similar restraint,” Davie concluded.
On Thursday, Davie issued a public apology to Prince Charles and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
His statement comes as William’s former nanny Alexandra Pettifer, previously known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, received compensation for “false and malicious” allegations that she had an affair with Charles in 1995.
After the ruling, Davie issued a statement.
“Following publication of the Dyson Report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the ‘Panorama’ program in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer,” the statement read.
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“The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs. Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to her, to The Prince of Wales [Charles]and to the Dukes of Cambridge [William] and Sussex [Harry]for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives,” Davie shared.
The broadcaster previously returned the BAFTA award it won for the interview, which garnered 23 million views in November 1995.
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William has been outspoken in the past about how the interview with his late-mother was obtained.
“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,” he said.
In May 2021, Bashir said he was “deeply sorry,” but denied that the interview was responsible for any harm to Diana.
“I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did,” the journalist told the Sunday Times. “Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents… My family and I loved her.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.