Panorama will launch its OWN investigation into how Martin Bashir secured the Princess Diana interview as presenter is told to leave ‘no stone unturned’
- Journalist John Ware has been commissioned to create a special edition of show
- The investigation could be broadcast next year, sources told The Mail on Sunday
- The move signals the depth of concern at the broadcaster over the allegations
The BBC’s Panorama is to launch an unprecedented investigation into its own affairs in an effort to get to the bottom of how Martin Bashir obtained his notorious interview with Princess Diana.
John Ware, one of the Corporation’s most respected journalists, has been commissioned to create a special edition of the show which will scrutinise his former colleague and the BBC over the interview, once hailed as the scoop of the century.
The investigation, which is likely to be highly embarrassing for both the show and the BBC, could be broadcast next year, sources told The Mail on Sunday – with Mr Ware told to leave ‘no stone unturned’.
The BBC’s Panorama is to launch an unprecedented investigation into its own affairs in an effort to get to the bottom of how Martin Bashir obtained his notorious interview with Princess Diana
The move signals the depth of concern at the broadcaster over the allegations of forgery, deception and cover-up which have emerged in relation to the 1995 interview.
It suggests there are doubts at the highest level that the official probe launched by BBC director-general Tim Davie and headed by retired Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson will go far enough.
A Panorama-led inquisition, it is believed, could go some way to assuaging public mistrust, as well as heading off criticisms from Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, that the parameters of the inquiry are too narrow.
Last night Mr Ware, 72, who worked on the flagship current affairs programme between 1986 and 2012, declined to comment.
It is not the first time he has been tasked to investigate another branch of the BBC. In 2004, he examined the Today programme’s report into the death of Dr David Kelly. His award-winning Panorama programme, A Fight To The Death, exposed failings by the station and triggered the Hutton Inquiry.
Diana’s brother Earl Spencer (left) has alleged Mr Bashir (right) showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to Diana
But this would be the first time Panorama has effectively investigated itself. Mr Ware is expected to team up with the programme’s editor Rachel Jupp and producer Leo Telling on the investigation.
It has been 25 years since Bashir landed the historic interview with the Princess, in which she sensationally revealed there were ‘three people in my marriage’ – a reference to her estranged husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall.
Five months after the broadcast, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Mr Bashir had commissioned graphic designer Matt Wiessler to forge bank statements to convince Diana that her staff were leaking stories about her. As a result of the allegations, the BBC launched a review of the programme the following year, overseen in part by Tony Hall, then head of news and current affairs, who retired as director-general in August.
It concluded: ‘The BBC has been able, independently, to verify that these documents were put to no use which had any bearing, direct or indirect, on the Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales.’
But after renewed publicity around the anniversary of the interview last month, Earl Spencer called for a fresh investigation into the episode, accusing the Corporation of a ‘whitewash’ in its initial investigation.
Mr Bashir is currently signed off sick after contracting Covid-19 and having a quadruple heart bypass operation. The reporter, who has since been photographed leaving his £2 million home to buy a takeaway and visit a wine shop, is unlikely to return to the BBC.