The BBC will return the BAFTA it won for Princess Diana’s 1995 ‘Panorama’ interview after an independent inquiry savaged the tactics used by reporter Martin Bashir.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana

Former Supreme Court Judge Lord Dyson concluded on Thursday (20.05.21) that Bashir used forged bank statements to secure access to the Princess of Wales in 1995, and said that the BBC was “woefully ineffective” in getting to the bottom of his wrongdoing at the time.

And in response to the findings, the BBC have agreed to give back the award it won for Best Television Talk Show for ‘Panorama Interview With HRH The Princess Of Wales’ at the 1996 BAFTAs.

In a statement, they said: “The 1995 ‘Panorama’ interview received a number of awards at the time. We do not believe it is acceptable to retain these awards because of how the interview was obtained.”

Dyson’s investigation also found that Bashir “deceived” his way to the interview that made his name, while the BBC “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark”.

BBC director general Tim Davie said in a statement: “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.

“While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured in this way. The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today.”

Whilst Bashir also acknowledged his error of judgement in his own statement.

He said: “This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently.”