BBC’s Princess Diana interview was ‘clearly got on a very dodgy and tricky basis’ claims former presenter

BBC’s Princess Diana interview was ‘clearly got on a very dodgy and tricky basis’ claims former presenter
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 08/01/2024

- 07:30

Former presenter Nicholas Owen responded to news that the BBC is to release emails about the infamous Panorama programme

The BBC’s infamous Panorama interview with Princess Diana “was clearly got on a very, very dodgy and tricky basis”, according to former BBC and ITV presenter Nicholas Owen.

He was commenting on news that the BBC is to release redacted copies of thousands of emails related to its handling of Martin Bashir’s interview after it was ordered to do so by a judge last month.

Owen told GB News: “So many storylines came out of it, particularly the business about there being three of us in a marriage, as the princess said. Oh my goodness, how the waters have been muddied since.

“We should be very sort of straightforward and clear about one thing is that the interview was clearly got on a very, very dodgy and tricky basis.

“But you don't do anything at the BBC, I didn't do anything at the BBC of any importance at all without an awful lot of people getting involved in the process of monitoring what's going on, who you're going to talk to, what you're going to ask them about, and all that sort of thing - any major interview.”

In a discussion with Michael Portillo, he continued: “An awful lot of people would have been involved in this and I can't help feeling at the back of this there's a lot of reputations of some very, very high profile people in the BBC [at risk], very important people and so on. It's an extremely sensitive issue.

“They're going to see themselves as exposed in how management actually acted in all these situations. Yeah, jolly, jolly tricky. Now, is there a sort of malign cover up going on?

“… I think it is not so much professional damage going on, or potential professional damage that people are trying to cover up here. They're trying to sort out a very cumbersome system which militates against good basic journalism really and I think that's at the heart of this issue.”

He added: “I think it is astonishing, what has been discovered about the way that Martin Bashir went about getting that interview has been breathtaking.

“It’s very unfortunate, really, because it is it has done so much damage, not just to the BBC, but to the whole idea that there can be responsible journalism covering a subject as tricky and awkward as, I remember only too well, the Royal Family - very, very difficult to get behind the scenes to really find out what is going on.

“What the Diana interview did and all the fuss that it has caused since and the allegations going backwards and forwards about how it was obtained and so on has made dealing with the Royal Family for the journalists who have to do it today so much more difficult.”


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