Martin Bashir said in the Panorama interview that he “never wanted to harm Diana, Princess of Wales” and added: “I don’t think we did that.”
The journalist’s reputation is in ruins, according to Lord Dyson’s report for using “fraudulent behavior” to land his worldwide exclusive 1995 interview.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Bashir claimed Diana was never unhappy with the content of the interview and said they continued to be friends after the show. The princess even visited his wife Deborah that day at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London. Deborah gave birth to the couple’s third child, Eliza.
He told the newspaper, “I never meant to harm Diana and I don’t think we did.”
“Everything we did about the interview was what she wanted, from the time she tried to alert the palace to the time it aired to its contents .. . My family and I loved her. “
He said he “deeply regrets” the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex but denies Williams allegations that he fueled their isolation and paranoia.
He said, “As early as the early 1990s, there were stories and secretly recorded phone calls. I wasn’t the source of all of this. “
Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, said he “draws a line” between the interview and his sister’s death, claiming that Bashir’s actions led her to abandon her royal security detail.
Bashir, who left the BBC last week for health reasons, said: “I don’t think I can be held responsible for many other things in your life and the complex issues surrounding those decisions.”
“I can understand the motivation [of Earl Spencer’s comments] But to channel the tragedy, the difficult relationship between the royal family and the media only feels on my shoulders. I consider the proposal, for which I am solely responsible, to be unreasonable and unfair. “
Bashir commissioned documents allegedly showing payments to the bank accounts of members of the royal household and, according to Lord Dyson, showed them to Earl Spencer.
He said, “Of course I regret it, it was wrong. But it didn’t affect anything. It didn’t affect it [Diana]did not affect the interview. “
He said he was now concerned that the scandal will overshadow the content of what Diana said in the interview.
“She was a pioneer princess. When you think about the grief in your marriage, when you think about the admission of a psychiatric illness – simply extraordinary! And their sons continue to be a mental health advocate, ”he said.
“I don’t understand what the purpose of it is in the end? OK, maybe you want to destroy me, but what’s the point of it?
“I did something wrong … but for God’s sake acknowledge some of the relationship we had and some of what she contributed through this interview.
“One of the saddest things about it all was the way the content of what she said was almost ignored.”
Bashir’s comments come after former BBC director general Lord Tony Hall resigned as chairman of the National Gallery after being heavily criticized in the Dyson report for his botched investigation into how the interview was obtained.
His resignation comes after another former BBC executive involved in the 1996 internal investigation, Tim Suter, announced on Friday that he was stepping down from his board role at Media Watchdog Ofcom.
Earl Spencer reportedly wrote to the City Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick asking her to investigate the BBC.
Scotland Yard has already announced that it will evaluate Lord Dyson’s results to see if they contain “significant new evidence”.
Lord Hall, who was BBC News and Current Affairs Director in 1996, led the investigation, which exonerated Bashir despite previously admitting lying about the forged documents he used for the interview.
He was director general when Bashir was controversially hired by the BBC as religious affairs correspondent in 2016 and later promoted to religion editor.
Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Chairman Julian Knight has called on current Director General Tim Davie to provide a full explanation of how Bashir was reinstated.
Mr Knight said some people might suspect that the journalist got the religious job to keep quiet about what exactly he knew.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the BBC should now consider paying compensation to “whistleblowers” whose careers were damaged after they raised concerns about how Bashir was working.
Mr Knight said further reforms were needed at the BBC and called for editorial policy to be strengthened within the company.
He told BBC Breakfast on Sunday: “We need to make sure that the processes are in place, that editorial guidelines are followed, and that the BBC is loud enough that we have no chance of repeating this lousy journalism in the future. “
Mr Davie wrote to BBC staff on Friday: “I know we now have much stronger processes and governance to ensure that such an event does not happen again. But we also need to learn lessons and keep improving. “