Journalist Martin Bashir hits back after royals blast BBC interview

·3-min read

Journalist Martin Bashir has said he "never wanted to harm" Diana, Princess of Wales, with his controversial 1995 BBC Panorama television interview.

He has also added: "I don't believe we did."

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama.
Martin Bashir has spoken out about his 1995 interview with Princess Diana. Photo: Getty Images

The journalist's reputation is in tatters following a report by Lord Dyson that he used "deceitful behaviour" to land his world exclusive 1995 interview.

Speaking to the UK's Sunday Times, Bashir has maintained Diana was never unhappy about the content of the interview and said they continued to be friends after the broadcast.

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He said the princess even visited his wife Deborah at St George's hospital in Tooting, south London, on the day Deborah gave birth to the couple's third child, Eliza.

He told the newspaper: "I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don't believe we did.

"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."

He said he is "deeply sorry" to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, but disputes William's charge that he fuelled her isolation and paranoia.

Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, has said he "draws a line" between the interview and his sister's death, claiming Bashir's actions led her to give up her royal security detail.

Bashir, who left the BBC last week due to ill health, said: "I don't feel I can be held responsible for many of the other things that were going on in her life, and the complex issues surrounding those decisions."

He said he is now concerned the scandal will overshadow the content of what Diana said in the interview.

Bashir's comments come after former BBC director-general Lord Tony Hall quit as chairman of the National Gallery after he was heavily criticised in the Dyson report for his botched inquiry into how the interview was obtained.

Britain's Prince William makes a statement
It comes after Prince William accused the BBC of failing their mother Princess Diana and poisoning her relationship with Prince Charles. Photo: AAP
Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry,
During the Panorama interview, watched by more than 20 million viewers in Britain, Diana shocked the nation by admitting to an affair and sharing details of her marriage to the heir to the throne and William's father, Prince Charles. Photo: Getty Images

His resignation comes after another former BBC executive involved in the 1996 internal investigation, Tim Suter, announced on Friday that he was stepping down from his board role with media watchdog Ofcom.

Earl Spencer is reported to have written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick asking her to investigate the BBC.

Scotland Yard has already said that it will assess Lord Dyson's findings to determine whether they contain any "significant new evidence".

Lord Hall, who in 1996 was director of BBC news and current affairs, led the investigation which exonerated Bashir, even though he had previously admitted lying about the fake documents he used in obtaining the interview.

He was director-general when Bashir was controversially rehired by the BBC as religious affairs correspondent in 2016 and later promoted to religion editor.

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