BBC apologises to whistleblower Matt Wiessler who exposed Martin Bashir's methods to secure Princess Diana interview

Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The whistleblower who tried to expose Martin Bashir’s methods for landing his exclusive Panorama interview with Princess Diana has said he wants to "move on" after he received a personal apology from the director-general of the BBC.

In 1995, Graphic designer Matt Wiessler was asked by the then Panorama journalist Mr Bashir to urgently make some mocked-up bank statements.

Mr Bashir used them to as part of a dossier of "evidence" in his bid to secure Earl Spencer to help arrange the now infamous Panorama interview.

Mr Wiessler who was asked to make the fake documents, told an ITV documentary last year that he had been made a “fall guy” by the BBC.

He was sidelined by the corporation after raising concerns that fake bank statements he mocked up for Mr Bashir had been used by the journalist to persuade Diana to do the interview.

Speaking after a meeting at the BBC where he received a personal apology from current director-general Tim Davie, he was asked why the apology was important to him.

Diana during her Panorama interview with Martin Bashir Credit: BBC/PA

Mr Wiessler told BBC News: "Because I still felt that to this day that the BBC were just saying things to sort of appease me but I have come away from it feeling now they really, really support me and feel they really genuinely want to, not help me, but clear up the past and start again on a sort of friendly relationship."

When asked about the prospect of being paid compensation, he said: "There might well be but I’m not involved in that and Tim and I have spoken about that quite openly, it’s sort of confidential but we very much both just want to move on."

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A recent investigation by Lord Dyson into the interview criticised the methods Mr Bashir used to secure his bombshell 1995 Panorama interview.

What are the key findings in Lord Dyson's report?

  • Mr Bashir commissioned fake bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer

  • Mr Bashir produced and showed the bank statements to Earl Spencer which contained information that had probably been fabricated by Mr Bashir

  • He acted to deceive Earl Spencer and induce him to arrange for Mr Bashir to meet Princess Diana

  • By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way, he was able to persuade her to agree to give the interview

  • Behaving as described above, Mr Bashir acted inappropriately and in serious breach of the BBC's Producers’ Guidelines on straight dealing

The report also suggested the BBC had failed to uphold "governance, accountability and scrutiny".

A BBC spokeswoman said of the meeting: "It was both constructive and positive, but as you’d expect, we are not going to get into the specifics of a private meeting."