THE BBC has donated over £1million made from sales of the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. A total of £1.42million has been divided equally between seven charities linked with the Princess, the broadcaster confirmed today (September 2). The donations come from the BBC’s commercial revenue and not from the Licence Fee.
The corporation said in a statement: “The BBC had indicated its intention to donate to charity the sales proceeds derived from the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. The BBC has now done so. Given the findings of Lord Dyson, we think this is the right and appropriate course of action.” The charities which have received donations are Centrepoint, English National Ballet, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, The Leprosy Mission, National Aids Trust, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and The Diana Award.
The proceeds are derived from sales of the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana conducted by then-BBC journalist Martin Bashir. It made global headlines as the princess spoke openly about her marriage to the Prince of Wales. She famously told Mr Bashir “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”. A report by Lord Dyson issued last year concluded the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” by Mr Bashir to secure the bombshell interview and led to a call from the Duke of Cambridge for it never to be aired again.
The BBC has previously issued an apology for the circumstances in which the interview was obtained. In July, the broadcaster vowed never to broadcast clips from the interview again. Director-general Tim Davie said: “Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained, I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again, nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters. “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. “I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.”
Lord Dyson’s report found Mr Bashir had deceived Diana’s brother Charles Spencer into arranging a meeting with her by producing fake bank statements suggesting she was being bugged by the security services and two senior aides were being paid to provide information about her. Its conclusions prompted an angry rebuke from Prince William who said the interview had poisoned his parents’ relationship and hurt countless others. The BBC set up the investigation after allegations from Diana’s brother that he had been tricked into introducing her to Mr Bashir.
In the Panorama interview, which was watched by more than 20 million viewers when it first aired in Britain, Diana shocked the nation by admitting to an affair and sharing details of her marriage to the heir to the throne. It was the first time Diana had commented publicly about her doomed marriage. The report said: “Without justification, the BBC fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.” Mr Bashir apologised for the fake statements, but said last year he stood by his evidence from 25 years ago and did not believe they led Diana to give the interview.
Lord Dyson’s report included a handwritten note from Diana from a month after the interview in which she said she had no regrets and Mr Bashir did not show her any information of which she was not previously aware. But the report said Mr Bashir acted “inappropriately” and in “serious breach” of the 1993 edition of the Producers’ Guidelines on straight dealing.