A report’s found the former BBC reporter Martin Bashir “deceived and induced” Princess Diana’s brother in order to obtain a now infamous Panorama interview with her in 1995.
Bashir made a “serious breach” of BBC guidelines by producing fake bank statements when he secured the 1995 interview.
Bashir has apologised in response to the report’s findings and said the faking of bank statements was a “stupid thing to do” and “an action I deeply regret“.
Bashir’s statement comes days after he stepped down as the BBC’s religion editor due to ongoing health issues.
However, he added he felt it had “no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview“.
BBC director-general Tim Davie has made a “full and unconditional” apology after the findings in Lord Dyson’s report were released.
BBC chairman Richard Sharp also doesn’t believe it is “acceptable” for the corporation to retain the “number of awards” the interview received.
Former director-general Lord Hall, who was the BBC’s director of news and current affairs when the Diana interview was screened, has said he accepts the corporation’s 1996 inquiry into how the sit-down was secured “fell well short of what was required“.
Lord Dyson’s report was set up to explore how the BBC and journalist Bashir landed the explosive Panorama interview with Princess Diana – during which she sensationally said there were “three of us” in her marriage to Prince Charles.
Lord Hall said in response to Lord Dyson’s report: “I accept that our investigation 25 years ago into how Panorama secured the interview with Princess Diana fell well short of what was required. In hindsight, there were further steps we could and should have taken following complaints about Martin Bashir’s conduct.
“I was wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt, basing that judgement as I did on what appeared to be deep remorse on his part. Throughout my 35-year career at the BBC, I have always acted in ways I believe were fair, impartial and with the public interest front and centre.
The princess’s brother Earl Spencer maintained Bashir showed him fake financial documents relating to Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson and another former royal household member.
He also said the journalist had told outlandish and untrue stories about the Royal Family to get Diana onside, including that she was being spied on by the secret services.
Lord Birt, director-general of the BBC at the time of the interview, has said “we now know the BBC harboured a rogue reporter on Panorama who fabricated an elaborate, detailed but wholly false account of his dealings with Earl Spencer and Princess Diana“.
He added: “This is a shocking blot on the BBC’s enduring commitment to honest journalism; and it is a matter of the greatest regret that it has taken 25 years for the full truth to emerge.
“As the director-general at the time, I offer my deep apologies to Earl Spencer and to all others affected.”