Martin Bashir steps down to 'focus on his health' after BBC Panorama Princess Diana interview probe

MARTIN Bashir has quit the BBC on health grounds amid the investigation into his Princess Diana interview.

The veteran journalist, who was the BBC News religion editor, has been seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications.


Jonathan Munro, the BBC's deputy director of news, said in a message to staff: "Martin Bashir has stepped down from his position as the BBC's religion editor, and is leaving the Corporation.

"He let us know of his decision last month, just before being readmitted to hospital for another surgical procedure on his heart.

"Although he underwent major surgery toward the end of last year, he is facing some ongoing issues and has decided to focus on his health.

"We wish him a complete and speedy recovery."

Bashir has rarely been seen in public since falling ill last year.

He began working as a journalist in 1986 but made headlines around the world in 1995 for his interview with Diana for Panorama.

Diana famously said their were "three people" in her marriage to Prince Charles, and dropped a number of royal bombshells during the exclusive chat.

But Diana's brother Earl Spencer has alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to his sister.

The journalist was accused of ordering a graphic artist to fake two bank statements to obtain the royal scoop after Diana and Prince Charles' divorce.

An ex-employee of Princess Diana’s brother complained to police he was named in fake documents allegedly used to gain access to her.

Alan Waller, who worked for Earl Spencer in security, wrote to the Met alleging unlawful activity last year.

The papers allegedly falsely suggested Mr Waller got money from newspapers and the security forces for snooping on Dianna.

The claims were assessed by police, but later dropped as there was no realistic prospect of a successful prosecution.

Scotland Yard Commander Alex Murray said: "In recent months the Metropolitan Police Service received correspondence alleging unlawful activity in connection with a documentary broadcast in 1995. This was carefully assessed by specialist detectives. 

"They obtained legal advice from Metropolitan Police lawyers, independent counsel and from the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Following this detailed assessment and in view of the advice we received, we have determined that it is not appropriate to begin a criminal investigation into these allegations. No further action will be taken.

"In this matter, as in any other, should any significant new evidence come to light we will assess it."

The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, a retired judge and former master of the rolls, to lead an investigation to discover what steps the BBC and Mr Bashir took to land the interview.

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