BBC appoints Lord Dyson to lead probe into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview
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The BBC has said an investigation into Martin Bashir's interview with Princess Diana will be headed by Lord Dyson.
The former Master of the Rolls is set to launch his probe straight away and vowed to make it "thorough and fair".
In a statement, the BBC said: "The terms of reference for the independent investigation are as follows.
"1. What steps did the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir take with a view to obtaining the Panorama interview on 20 November 1995 with Diana, Princess of Wales? This will involve a consideration of all the relevant evidence including (i) the mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (ii) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households; and (iii) the other matters recently raised by Earl Spencer not limited to the matters published in the Daily Mail on 7 November 2020.
Princess Diana and Martin Bashir
The investigation will be headed by Lord Dyson
"2. Were those steps appropriate, having regard in particular to the BBC’s editorial standards prevailing at the time?
"3. To what extent did the actions of the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir influence Diana, Princess of Wales’s decision to give an interview?
"4.What knowledge did the BBC have in 1995 and 1996 of the relevant evidence referred to at paragraph 1 above?
"5. Having regard to what was known at the time of its investigation in 1995 and 1996, how effectively did the BBC investigate the circumstances leading to the interview?"
It added: "The investigation will start straight away and the BBC is handing over all of its relevant records.
Princess Diana during her Panorama interview in 1995
(Image: Press Association)
"The BBC will publish the report of this investigation at its conclusion."
Lord Dyson said: "This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair."
Lord Dyson has appointed Fieldfisher LLP as solicitors to the independent investigation.
The firm also worked on the inquest into to the deaths of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.
It comes after Diana's brother Earl Spencer claimed he was shown false financial documents by Bashir so that the then Panorama reporter could gain access to the royal in 1995.
Bashir is alleged to have used a BBC graphic designer to create fake bank statements that he claimed was proof courtiers were selling stories about Diana's private life.
Diana's brother Earl Spencer claimed he was shown false financial documents by Bashir so that the then Panorama reporter could gain access to the royal in 1995
He also allegedly told her that her phone was tapped by MI5, her bodyguard was plotting against her and that close friends were betraying her.
The Panorama programme in 1995, which was watched by nearly 23 million people.
In the interview Diana told Bashir 'there were three people in the marriage' as she hinted at Princess Charles' affair with his now wife Camilla Parker Bowles, which led to a furore that culminated in their divorce.
New BBC boss Tim Davie had apologised to Earl Spencer after the broadcaster admitted that Bashir had shown Earl Spencer fake bank statements prior to his interview, that had been made by a graphic designer.
The interview led to a furore that ulminated in Prince Charles divorcing the Princess of Wales
The BBC previously said that they would "get to the bottom" of the accusations swirling around the interview.
Davie had confirmed that the terms of the investigation would be announced last week, saying: "The BBC is taking this very seriously and we want to get to the truth. We are in the process of commissioning a robust and independent investigation."
His statement also said that Bashir was currently signed off work and was too ill to give a comment about the claims.
He added at the time: "The BBC has made clear it will investigate the issues raised and that this will be independent.
Lord Dyson is set to launch his probe straight away
(Image: Press Association)
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"We will set out the terms of reference in due course. We will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this.
"Martin Bashir is signed off work by his doctors as he is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year."
An internal investigation into Bashir's conduct carried out by the BBC in 1996 found that the fake bank statements had not helped the journalist gain the interview.
Palace courtiers decided "not to get involved" into the investigation as they hoped it "would go away".