Lord Hall to take part in inquiry into Diana’s Panorama interview

Former BBC director-general Lord Hall has confirmed he will take part in the corporation’s investigation into Diana, Princess of Wales’s appearance on Panorama.

Lord Hall led a 1996 internal BBC investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Diana that sent shockwaves through the royal family with her revelations about the state of her marriage.

But the princess’s brother Earl Spencer has in recent weeks alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told outlandish and untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to his sister.

His claims have led the BBC to appoint Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls and head of civil justice, to lead a new independent investigation, which has already begun, to discover what steps the BBC and Mr Bashir took to land the interview with Diana in 1995.

Diana being interviewed by Martin Bashir. PA/BBC SCREEN GRAB
Diana being interviewed by Martin Bashir. PA/BBC SCREEN GRAB

Lord Hall briefly commented to ITV News when he was stopped while out buying coffee, and was asked if he felt his inquiry, conducted when he was director of BBC news and current affairs, was “adequate”.

He replied: “I’m going to take part in the BBC’s inquiry into this and I’ve got nothing to say until that inquiry, until I speak to that inquiry, and until that inquiry has found out whatever it finds out.

“That’s the proper way to go about things and that’s what I’ll do.”

Lord Hall was questioned again about his investigation and repeated he would be taking part in Lord Dyson’s inquiry, adding: “I think Lord Dyson is the right way to… he’s doing all the right things, and I will take part in that inquiry and I shall say what I want to say to Lord Dyson.”

Charles Spencer has called on the BBC to apologise. Yui Mok/PA Wire
Charles Spencer has called on the BBC to apologise. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Diana’s brother has claimed in correspondence with the BBC that Lord Hall’s inquiry was a “whitewash” and also alleged the corporation covered up the actions of Mr Bashir.

Lord Hall has told The Times newspaper he was “unaware” of the documents at the centre of the new claims by the earl.

Mr Bashir, now the BBC’s religion editor, is seriously ill with Covid-19-related complications and is not in a position to respond to the earl’s allegations, the BBC has said.

A spokeswoman for the corporation said: “A lot has been written and broadcast about the Princess of Wales’s interview in recent weeks. It is important that we have a view of what happened based on the evidence of everyone involved. Clearly that has not yet been able to happen.

“But to be absolutely clear, the BBC is determined to get to the truth of what happened. That’s why we have appointed Lord Dyson to lead a fully independent investigation.

“It is vital that everyone with information shares that with Lord Dyson, so that he can investigate thoroughly and draw his conclusions having heard all the evidence.”