BBC needs friends as enemies circle over Martin Bashir's disgraceful deceit to get Princess Diana interview – Brian Wilson

There have never been better grounds for giving the BBC a kicking than those provided by Lord Dyson’s inquiry into Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana.

Diana, Princess of Wales, is interviewed by Martin Bashir for the BBC in 1995 (Picture: BBC/PA Wire)

Its enemies do not need to fabricate left-wing bias or attack the licence fee principle. All they will do for years to come is invoke the Dyson report and the responses from Diana’s two sons, mere children at the time.

It is a thoroughly disgusting story and Mr Bashir richly deserves the ignominy which will now pursue him as opposed to the riches and unwarranted reputation that the interview earned him over the past quarter century.

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While it goes without saying that there will be hypocrisy among sections of the press which have never flinched from equally disreputable tactics, the BBC will not find much sympathy for pointing this out.

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The deed was bad enough, and the cover-up has been even worse. How on Earth did Mr Bashir find his way back into the BBC in 2016 as, of all things, religious affairs correspondent? That alone demands explanation.

My own instinct has always been to defend the BBC, misgivings subordinated to a far stronger distaste for the motives of those dedicated to attacking it. However, the demand for a fundamental review of an organisation which has outgrown itself in both scale and self-esteem is now likely be irresistible.

The challenge will be to protect what is best in the BBC from those who were its enemies long before Mr Bashir’s sins caught up with him. The defence of public service broadcasting, universally funded and free from advertising, cannot be entrusted to the BBC alone.

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