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Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer says he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with BBC Panorama inquiry

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Princess Diana’s brother said he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the BBC’s inquiry into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview – after he accused the broadcaster of a ‘whitewash’ over faked bank statements.

Earl Spencer earlier accused the BBC of ‘sheer dishonesty’ for showing him falsified bank accounts ahead of the 1995 interview that sent shockwaves through the royal family.

These purported to show – entirely wrongly – that two senior courtiers were being paid by the security services for information on his sister, in the hope it would win him an introduction to the princess.

He said had it not been for the bank statements, he would not have ‘introduced Bashir’ to his sister, the then-Princess of Wales.

Since then, the broadcaster has launched an investigation into the Diana interview with retired judge, Lord Dyson, former master of the rolls, to spearhead the probe.

But  Earl Spencer said he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the scope of the BBC inquiry, claiming that Lord Dyson should be able to examine ‘examine every aspect of this matter’.

Princess Diana's brother Earl Spencer (pictured) said he is 'not at all satisfied' with the BBC's inquiry into Martin Bashir's Diana interview - after he accused the broadcaster of a 'whitewash' over faked bank statements

Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer (pictured) said he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the BBC’s inquiry into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview – after he accused the broadcaster of a ‘whitewash’ over faked bank statements 

He took to Twitter to say he was 'not at all satisfied' with the scope of the BBC inquiry into the interview

He took to Twitter to say he was ‘not at all satisfied’ with the scope of the BBC inquiry into the interview

Princess Diana’s pal blasts ‘criminal’ BBC

One of Princess Diana‘s closest friends last night accused the BBC of ‘making a lot of money’ from a ‘criminal offence’.

Rosa Monckton praised Prince William for standing up for his mother – and welcomed the new inquiry into how Diana was ‘coerced’ into giving her famous Panorama interview.

Miss Monckton said reporter Martin Bashir’s ‘dishonest’ methods for clinching his 1995 exclusive ‘did change the course of history’.

Diana, who died two years later, had become ‘jumpy’ and ‘edgy’ and thought she was being followed after Bashir fed her callous lies about MI5 and Prince Charles, her friend said.

In an explosive interview on ITV News last night, Miss Monckton said: ‘It’s very important that we look at it 25 years on. It did change the course of history.

‘I know people are saying she would have done an interview anyway, but she hadn’t and she didn’t and… she always said no.’ 

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He tweeted: ‘As I’ve told the BBC this evening, I’m not at all satisfied with the parameters they’ve set around their enquiry into the @BBCPanorama interview with Diana of 25 years ago tonight.

‘Lord Dyson must be free to examine every aspect of this matter, from 1995 to today, as he sees fit.’

The BBC has insisted that investigation has a sufficiently broad scope.

A spokesman for the corporation said: ‘The review is fully independent and the terms are suitably broad and wide-ranging.

‘We hope that everyone will support Lord Dyson’s work in establishing the truth.’ 

His comments come after it was revealed Prince William had been with contact with the BBC to ensure a top judge was hired to ‘establish the truth’ about the interview.   

The broadcaster has appointed a retired judge, Lord Dyson, former master of the rolls, to lead an investigation into the Diana interview.

The investigation will consider if the steps taken by the BBC and Mr Bashir were appropriate and to what extent those actions influenced Princess Diana’s decision to give an interview.

It will also examine what knowledge the BBC had in 1995 and 1996 of ‘mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (and) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households’, the corporation said.

On Thursday, TV watchdog Ofcom said it will not launch its own investigation into the BBC Panorama controversy, but will follow the independent inquiry ‘closely’.  

The interview was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family

The interview was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family

The Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

The Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Sick pay ‘is cheaper’ than suspending Martin Bashir

Despite facing a string of allegations of dishonesty, Martin Bashir still holds the title of BBC religion editor.

But the riddle of why he has not been suspended may have been solved – it is cheaper to keep him on reduced sick pay.

If the BBC suspended the veteran journalist until the inquiry into how he secured the Panorama interview with Princess Diana ends, he would be entitled to his full pay for the six months or more that Lord Dyson’s investigation is expected to take.

Mr Bashir’s salary is believed to be in six figures. 

Were he to be declared fit to work, his pay would be restored – but he would also face immediate calls to answer questions about accusations he lied to Diana and others involved in high-profile stories. 

He is off sick after catching coronavirus in the summer and having a quadruple heart bypass operation in September.

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Following Lord Dyson’s appointment, the Duke of Cambridge called the move ‘a step in the right direction’. 

He said: ‘The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.’ 

The interview, in which Diana admitted there were ‘three people’ in her marriage, was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family. 

Lord Dyson, 77, who stood as Master of the Rolls between 2012 and 2016, has said he will start his inquiry ‘straight away’ by interviewing corporation staff and having access to available records.

He also promised Mr Bashir a ‘thorough and fair’ investigation following sensational claims the journalist secured the Princess of Wales’s trust by faking two bank statements.  

The BBC approved Lord Dyson’s appointment on Wednesday after new Director General Tim Davie ordered an independent inquiry into allegations Mr Bashir fed Diana a string of lies and smears to obtain his exclusive interview with her.

Lord Dyson will also probe how much BBC bosses knew at the time and whether there was a cover-up and said: ‘This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair’. 

Rosa Monckton, one of Princess Diana's closest friends, last night accused the BBC of 'making a lot of money' from a 'criminal offence'. Pictured: Miss Monckton with Diana in 1993

Rosa Monckton, one of Princess Diana’s closest friends, last night accused the BBC of ‘making a lot of money’ from a ‘criminal offence’. Pictured: Miss Monckton with Diana in 1993

The five key areas the BBC inquiry into the Martin Bashir scandal will cover  

Lord Dyson has been asked to investigate and report back on five key areas. 

He will interview BBC staff and have access to all their records. 

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.

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?

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Prince William was in contact with BBC for TWO WEEKS to make sure they ‘establish the truth’ with probe into Panorama interview with his mother as reporter Martin Bashir – the man who is ‘too ill’ to help inquiry – breaks cover 

By Faith Ridler and Martin Robinson Chief Reporter For Mailonline and Sam Greenhill and Paul Revoir For The Daily Mail 

Prince William has spent the past fortnight in contact with the BBC to ensure they hired a top judge who will ‘establish the truth’ about Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana, it was revealed this week.

The Duke of Cambridge called Lord Dyson’s appointment ‘a step in the right direction’ after the former Supreme Court judge was unveiled as the eminent head of a probe into allegations of forgery, deceit and cover-up surrounding Mr Bashir’s scoop.

Mr Bashir, who is signed off work with illness but was pictured this week charging his electric Mercedes SUV, allegedly peddled 32 lies and vile smears to the vulnerable princess to clinch his explosive 1995 Panorama exclusive in which she famously said: ‘There were three of us in this marriage’ when asked about Camilla Parker-Bowles.

MailOnline understands William, who was 13 when the interview took place, has maintained channels of communication with the BBC over the past fortnight. This has kept pressure on the broadcaster to ensure it found an authoritative enough figure to probe his concerns about how his mother was treated.

A source close to the Duke of Cambridge added: ‘Well of course this is in part about protecting his mother’s legacy, so it is a very personal matter for William. He has kept a close eye on what’s unfolded but believes things are moving in the right direction.

‘The BBC has kept him informed appropriately. In the end, what he wants is the same as everyone else – for the truth to be unearthed and any appropriate action taken.’

Prince William said last night: ‘The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.’

The Duke of Cambridge (pictured this week) dubbed the independent investigation into whether Martin Bashir conned his mother into their notorious 1995 Panorama interview 'a step in the right direction'

The Duke of Cambridge (pictured this week) dubbed the independent investigation into whether Martin Bashir conned his mother into their notorious 1995 Panorama interview ‘a step in the right direction’

Pictured: Martin Bashir

Pictured: Martin Bashir

The Mail’s exclusive photographs show Mr Bashir charging his SUV at a petrol station while on sick leave from work after being struck by coronavirus in the summer and later undergoing a quadruple heart bypass operation

Princess Diana watches the Women's Singles final at Wimbledon with a young Prince William, who was 13 when the Panorame interview was released

Princess Diana watches the Women’s Singles final at Wimbledon with a young Prince William, who was 13 when the Panorame interview was released

The five key areas the BBC inquiry into the Martin Bashir scandal will cover  

Lord Dyson has been asked to investigate and report back on five key areas. 

He will interview BBC staff and have access to all their records. 

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.

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?

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The interview, in which Diana also admitted her infidelity with army captain James Hewitt, was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family. 

It led to the Queen demanding that Charles and Diana swiftly divorce in 1996, a year before the princess died following a car crash in a road tunnel in Paris in August 1997.   

Lord Dyson, 77, who stood as Master of the Rolls between 2012 and 2016, has said he will start his inquiry ‘straight away’ by interviewing corporation staff and having access to available records.

He also promised Mr Bashir a ‘thorough and fair’ investigation following sensational claims the journalist secured the Princess of Wales’s trust by faking two bank statements.  

The BBC approved Lord Dyson’s appointment on Wednesday after new Director General Tim Davie ordered an independent inquiry into allegations Mr Bashir fed Diana a string of lies and smears to obtain his exclusive interview with her. 

Lord Dyson will also probe how much BBC bosses knew at the time and whether there was a cover-up and said: ‘This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair’. 

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer – who has been demanding an inquiry into the ‘sheer dishonesty’ – has told friends he was pleased such a senior retired judge had been appointed.    

Mr Davie added: ‘The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation. 

‘Formerly Master of the Rolls and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process.’ 

Bashir, who is now religion editor at the BBC, is currently signed off from work.  

A statement from the corporation said: ‘He is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year.’

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Retired judge Lord Dyson (left) will run the independent inquiry into whether Martin Bashir used dirty tricks to con Princess Diana into the 1995 Panorama interview

Retired judge Lord Dyson (left) will run the independent inquiry into whether Martin Bashir used dirty tricks to con Princess Diana into the 1995 Panorama interview

Retired judge Lord Dyson (left) will run the independent inquiry into whether Mr Bashir used dirty tricks to con Princess Diana into the 1995 Panorama interview. Mr Bashir won a Bafta for the show (right)

BBC children’s show Celebrity Supply Teacher where scandal-hit Martin Bashir teaches children how to be journalists will remain available on iPlayer, corporation says 

BBC chiefs say a children's show where scandal-hit reporter Martin Bashir (pictured during the show) teaches children about the fundamentals of journalism will remain on iPlayer

BBC chiefs say a children’s show where scandal-hit reporter Martin Bashir (pictured during the show) teaches children about the fundamentals of journalism will remain on iPlayer

BBC chiefs say a children’s show where scandal-hit reporter Martin Bashir teaches children about the fundamentals of journalism will remain on iPlayer.

The corporation says it will not remove an episode of Celebrity Supply Teacher featuring the correspondent, who is at the centre of a probe relating to his bombshell 1995 interview with Princess Diana.   

The Celebrity Supply Teacher episode, which features a still image from the famous Panorama interview, centres on the journalist discussing the historical influence of civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King

He also also gives advice to young viewers about being a journalist, saying: ‘Journalism is about telling stories, real stories so that people can understand the world around them.’ 

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Veteran BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell is among the journalists expected to appear before the inquiry having been ‘deeply disturbed’ by their colleague’s alleged dirty tactics.

Mr Witchell, 67, who worked on Panorama in the 1990s, and several other senior BBC staff are said to have been ‘deeply disturbed’ by claims Mr Bashir allegedly spun an outlandish web of deceit to win Diana’s trust – and secure the bombshell interview. 

The BBC’s current royal correspondent had reportedly arranged to meet Diana to discuss a TV interview about the changing role of the monarchy and how her children William and Harry would fit in.

The plan was ‘put on ice’ when Mr Witchell was sent away on assignment and promoted diplomatic correspondent – but it was handed to Mr Bashir who is alleged to have used unscrupulous tactics to secure the interview.

To secure his interview, Mr Bashir  allegedly said her bodyguard was plotting against her, her friends were betraying her and MI6 had taped Charles and his private secretary planning the ‘end game’. 

He is said to have falsely claimed Charles and nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke went on a secret holiday together and that the heir to the throne was ‘in love’ with her. 

Mr Bashir allegedly lied that Prince Edward was having treatment for Aids and the Queen was a ‘comfort eater’ with ‘heart problems’.  

Earl Spencer kept meticulous notes which are expected to form key evidence in the inquiry. 

At an earlier meeting, Mr Bashir showed him fake bank statements he ordered a blameless BBC graphics artist to forge, purporting to show Earl Spencer’s security head was in the pocket of a newspaper group.  

Mr Witchell is said to have been ‘furious’ when Mr Bashir’s alleged deceit emerged, and is now set to give evidence to the inquiry into it, according to the Daily Telegraph.     

Michael Jackson was lured into his disastrous interview with Mr Bashir because he thought ‘if Princess Diana trusted him, [he] could too’, it was claimed on Tuesday.

The journalist was seen returning home this month carrying an Indian takeaway and wine. Mr Bashir, 57, the BBC's religious affairs editor, has not responded to requests for comment.

The journalist was seen returning home this month carrying an Indian takeaway and wine. Mr Bashir, 57, the BBC’s religious affairs editor, has not responded to requests for comment.

In February 1996 Bashir was feted at the Royal Television Society's annual journalism awards ceremony for the interview that made headlines around the world

In February 1996 Bashir was feted at the Royal Television Society’s annual journalism awards ceremony for the interview that made headlines around the world

Top British retired judge chosen to lead BBC’s Bashir inquiry once called Boris Johnson a risk-taker who ‘chances his arm’ in love child case

Lord Dyson was Master of the Rolls – the name Britain’s top Court of Appeal judge – for four years until he retired in October 2016. 

Famously in 2013 he ruled that the public had the right to know about the Prime Minister’s love child has now described him as a risk taker who ‘chances his arm’.

Lord Dyson was one of three judges who decided that the press had the right to reveal that Boris Johnson had fathered a daughter outside of his marriage.

The judges rejected an argument from Helen Macintyre, Mr Johnson’s former lover and the mother of the child, that the girl’s existence should be kept secret.

He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from April 2010 until October 2012. 

And before that he was a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales from 2001 until 2010 after stints at the High Court.

Lord Dyson was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1968.

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The pop star’s lawyer said Jackson would never have done the documentary with Bashir unless he believed it would be ‘positive’.

The 2003 expose turned into a public relations disaster for the troubled singer and culminated in him facing child molestation charges in 2005.

Tom Mesereau, who successfully defended the musician at the trial, claimed Jackson – who died in 2009 – had told him the journalist promised to portray him positively like the famous Diana interview. 

From his office in Los Angeles, Mr Mesereau told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘I have always been troubled by how Mr Bashir managed to get into Michael Jackson’s graces and gain his trust. 

‘He thought if Princess Diana trusted him, Michael could too. Michael told me he was led to believe this would be a very positive interview, and he trusted Mr Bashir to follow through [with this] but he was greatly disappointed.’

The British journalist spent eight months with the Thriller star before making the ITV documentary ‘Living with Michael Jackson,’ in which the entertainer admitted sharing his bed with children.

Bashir and former BBC chiefs are now facing an inquiry into a string of alleged lies and smears he reportedly fed Diana to obtain his 1995 exclusive interview with her.

Former director-general Lord Hall welcomed his successor Tim Davie’s decision to commission the ‘robust and independent’ investigation.

Lord Hall was head of news when Diana gave her interview, and he presided over an inquiry at the time that was dubbed a ‘whitewash’.

But he told the Sunday Times he was ‘pleased’ allegations Mr Bashir used dishonest methods would be investigated, adding: ‘I want these things to be looked at.’ There is also a growing clamour for a police investigation, after the BBC acknowledged Bashir had shown ‘mocked up’ bank statements to Earl Spencer when trying to persuade him to introduce him to his sister Diana. 

Matt Wiessler, who was sacked from the BBC after details of his role in making the bank statements emerged. Mr Bashir is the BBC's religious affairs editor

Matt Wiessler, who was sacked from the BBC after details of his role in making the bank statements emerged. Mr Bashir is the BBC’s religious affairs editor

Bashir clinched his access to the princess via her brother, Earl Spencer, who says the journalist showed him copies of bank statements (pictured) which purported to be from the private account of his head of security, Alan Waller. They apparently showed – falsely – that he was receiving money from a newspaper group and a mysterious offshore company

Bashir clinched his access to the princess via her brother, Earl Spencer, who says the journalist showed him copies of bank statements (pictured) which purported to be from the private account of his head of security, Alan Waller. They apparently showed – falsely – that he was receiving money from a newspaper group and a mysterious offshore company

Former police officers including Dai Davies, ex head of royal protection, say Scotland Yard should run the new probe. And Peter Bleksley, a founder member of Scotland Yard’s undercover unit, backed the idea, saying: ‘They have to establish criminal intent. Was there an intention to trick someone or persuade someone to do something because of these documents?

‘Earl Spencer is absolutely crucial to any criminal inquiry because he may be the person who was coerced into doing something. There would have to be some kind of financial advantage proven.’

The innocent graphics designer who unwittingly helped Mr Bashir create the phoney bank statements – and was fired while Mr Bashir collected awards – believes the BBC journalist’s historic interview helped set her on a fateful path culminating in her death.

At her funeral, Matt Wiessler stood in The Mall. He said: ‘I felt like I needed to pay my respects because somehow I contributed.’

BBC veteran Jonathan Dimbleby, one of the targets of Bashir’s smears, welcomed the inquiry, describing the Panorama affair as ‘the bizarre and awful story of Martin Bashir’s insinuating himself into the confidence of a troubled woman’. He said getting an interview ‘should never involve deception and lies’.

Mr Bashir, 57, the BBC’s religious affairs editor, has not responded to requests for comment.

A BBC source told the Mail: ‘At no stage has anyone at the BBC admitted forgery or any other criminality.’  

The man ‘too ill’ to help BBC inquiry: Martin Bashir is pictured out and about after broadcaster said he’s off work with ‘significant complications from having Covid’

By Sam Greenhill, Chief Reporter for the Daily Mail and Paul Revoir for the Daily Mail

Martin Bashir was looking ‘fit and well’ as he charged up his electric-powered Mercedes after fleeing London.

The under-fire journalist spent half an hour re-charging his SUV at a petrol station.

An onlooker said: ‘He looked slim and fit, and was walking around no problem. He was with his wife and she got some coffees and they sat talking for a while as the car got its charge. He didn’t seem to have a care in the world.’

Bashir and his family left London last Friday. Removal men packed up their £2million home in Maida Vale.

Martin Bashir was looking ‘fit and well’ as he charged up his electric-powered Mercedes after fleeing London

Martin Bashir was looking ‘fit and well’ as he charged up his electric-powered Mercedes after fleeing London

The under-fire journalist spent half an hour re-charging his SUV at a petrol station

Bashir and his family left London last Friday. Removal men packed up their £2million home in Maida Vale.

The under-fire journalist spent half an hour re-charging his SUV at a petrol station. Bashir and his family left London last Friday. Removal men packed up their £2million home in Maida Vale

The house is in the process of being sold, according to filings at the Land Registry.

The 57-year-old BBC religion editor has privately told his work colleagues that the Princess Diana scandal is a ‘sad way to retire’.

A source at the BBC said: ‘He is obviously never going to report for us again.’

Bashir is currently on sick leave from his post, after being struck by coronavirus in the summer and later undergoing a quadruple heart bypass operation.

The BBC said it was unable to ask him any questions about the Diana claims because of his ill health, but he is expected to take part in Lord Dyson’s inquiry.

Asked for an update on Bashir’s health, a BBC spokesman said yesterday: ‘Martin Bashir is signed off work by his doctors – he is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year.’  

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