BBC presenters speak out following publication of Dyson report

BBC presenters Dan Walker and Huw Edwards have commented following the blistering Dyson report around Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

An inquiry found the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by journalist Bashir to secure his headline-making world exclusive interview and “fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency”.

The journalist was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess in 1995, the report by Lord Dyson said.

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BBC Breakfast presenter Walker tweeted: “What happened in 1995 – highlighted in the #DysonReport – was clearly awful.

“The BBC has much to learn but all perspective seems to have been lost by some who are using the findings to attack current members of staff and devalue every element of the corporation.”

Walker recently announced he is stepping down as host of the BBC’s Football Focus after 12 years at the helm, with his last show airing in conjunction with the end of the current season on May 22.

He will continue to present for BBC Breakfast and for BBC Sport, including at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.

Huw Edwards
Huw Edwards has also commented (Ian West/PA)

Huw Edwards, who anchored the BBC’s coverage of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, also took to social media to comment.

He tweeted: “There is no excuse or justification for what happened in 1995. We are all sickened by it and the subsequent handling of it. For today’s @BBCNews team — 25 years on — to be lectured on probity and trust by certain parts of the media is somewhat vexing. #DysonReport @BBCNewsPR”.

Edwards later deleted the tweet and explained why.

He posted: “I’ve agreed to take down my earlier tweet because it’s encouraged more attacks on BBC News colleagues. That’s the last thing I want. They deserve praise for the work they do”.

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BBC director-general Tim Davie said the BBC accepted the report’s findings in full and added: “Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect. We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings.”