Press Centre

The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess

  • Episode:

    1 of 2

  • Transmission (TX):

    Mon 09 Nov 2020

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 46 2020 : Sat 07 Nov - Fri 13 Nov

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Tue 03 Nov 2020

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication in the public domain - until Tuesday 3 November 2020.

The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess

Series overview

"As we were walking to the door, I was thinking, 'I hope this works, I hope I pull this one off because it’s the most significant bit of filming that I’m ever going to do.' Diana opened the door and Martin said 'Hello Captain, these are the boys.' And she said 'Hello boys, do come in, call me Diana.'" - Tony Poole, BBC Panorama cameraman

This new two-part documentary for ITV tells the inside story of Princess Diana's 1995 interview with Martin Bashir that shocked the nation, in the process threatening the future of the monarchy and of the BBC.

Marking 25 years since Britain tuned in to watch Diana, Princess of Wales pour her heart out on national television, these two programmes hear from those who witnessed her fairytale romance with Prince Charles descend into rancour and ultimately divorce.

Through previously unseen documents and testimony from eyewitnesses who have never spoken before, the programmes reveal how and why the extraordinary interview came about. 

The Princess revealed a royal marriage in crisis, infidelities on both sides, and a degree of personal misery that had made her seriously ill. It was watershed television, affecting public perceptions of the monarchy and prompting a constitutional crisis, but what had led to this extraordinary moment?

This is a Minnow Films production for ITV

Episode 1
In the first episode, friends of the Princess speak about how what was described as the fairy tale wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles was in fact a mirage. The public images of happiness were superficial, and a decade of betrayal was to inspire in the Princess an anger and desire for public recognition of her private pain. 

Her plan to reveal her story is described by contributors including biographer Andrew Morton, her close friend Dr James Colthurst, Royal protection officer Ken Wharfe, close friend and journalist Richard Kay, Royal correspondent Jennie Bond, her former butler Paul Burrell, and her former private astrologer Penny Thornton. 

It's been alleged that the reporter who delivered the scoop of the century, Martin Bashir, won the trust of the Princess through his use of fake documents, something the BBC has denied. Internal BBC papers reveal inconsistencies in the corporation's account of what happened and the graphic artist who drew up the fake documents talks for the first time on television about what he was asked to do and his belief he was made a scapegoat. 

Cameraman Tony Poole describes the dramatic way Bashir organised the interview and how his film crew was secretly smuggled into Kensington Palace. 

Penny Thornton tells the programme: "One of the most shocking things that Diana told me was that the night before the wedding Charles told her that he didn't love her... I think Charles didn’t want to go into the wedding on a false premise. He wanted to square it with her and it was devastating for Diana. She didn't want to go through with the wedding at that point, she thought about not attending the wedding."

James Colthurst says: "I remember she was becoming more and more incensed by what was going on and the fact that the whole organisation, as she saw it, was helping to support the relationship between Camilla and Prince Charles.  She would have moments of extreme anger and wanting to bash the mattress with the tennis racket and that kind of thing, and I said, 'Well, I think there are ways of lancing the abscess.'"

Jennie Bond says: "Diana told me she feared that as part of the divorce settlement she felt was coming she would be gagged. She would be prohibited from talking publicly about the marriage in any way. It was then or never."