Princess Diana interview: BBC 'let the public and Royal Family down,' says ex-Ofcom chief

24 May 2021, 08:54

By Fiona Jones

Former Ofcom chief Dame Patricia Hodgson condemned BBC executives over the Princess Diana interview which "let the public down" and "let the Royal Family down."

BBC journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Diana for an episode of Panorama, watched by 23 million people, in which she famously disclosed "there were three of us in this marriage."

An independent review has now found that Mr Bashir used deceit to secure the interview through her brother, Earl Charles Spencer, a revelation that has sent shockwaves through the public and the Royal Family.

Read more: BBC Diana interview: What comes next after the Dyson report and what have the key figures said?

Former Ofcom chief Dame Patricia Hodgson told LBC, "Lord Dyson's report has given us really detailed insights into the affair.

"Clearly BBC executives were letting the Royal Family down, people who worked for the Royal Family, the British public down and their own colleagues because the true facts were kept from the board of governors and the board of management.

"I think there are two things to be done: one is obviously much more independence in the matter of complaints and receiving of complaints and editorial review."

She added that over the last twenty years the BBC have commissioned productions from independent companies which "helps to bring wider range into the BBC", however in independent organisations, such as Global, "it would have been much easier to get rid of whoever had made that mistake."

"Looking at the news and current affairs monolith, ITN is contracted by ITV and every few years that comes up for renewal - there are some lessons here I think for making the BBC a little more responsive to pressure," Dame Patricia said.

Read more: BBC sends letters of apology to William and Harry over 1995 interview with Princess Diana