Controversial Princess Diana interviewer Bashir leaves BBC
LONDON- Agence France-Presse
British journalist Martin Bashir, who is being investigated over how he obtained an explosive 1995 interview with Princess Diana, is stepping down from his role as the BBC’s religion editor, the corporation said on May 14.
"Martin Bashir has stepped down from his position as the BBC’s Religion Editor, and is leaving the corporation," said deputy director of BBC News, Jonathan Munro, adding it was due to health issues.
"He let us know of his decision last month, just before being readmitted to hospital for another surgical procedure on his heart," said Munro.
Bashir’s interview with Diana, in which she lifted the lid on her troubled marriage to Prince Charles, dropped a bombshell on the royal family.
But his methods in securing the interview have been investigated by former Supreme Court judge John Dyson, whom the BBC appointed after calls from the late princess’ brother, Charles Spencer.
Dyson’s spokeswoman said Friday that he "has concluded his investigation and the report has been passed to the BBC for publication in due course."
Spencer has alleged that Bashir showed him faked documents to persuade his sister to take part.
In the November 1995 interview, which was watched by a record 22.8 million people, Diana famously said "there were three people" in her marriage -- her, Charles and his long-time lover Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Diana and Charles formally divorced in 1996. She died in a Paris car crash the following year.
New reports have surfaced alleging that Bashir used underhand methods to persuade Diana to talk, including by claiming her own staff members were being paid to spy on her.
The BBC has been accused of a cover-up in a previous inquiry when rumours about Bashir’s alleged methods first surfaced.
Bashir was little-known at the time of the interview but went on to have a global career and famously interviewed Michael Jackson.
The journalist has not been at work in recent months after contracting coronavirus and undergoing heart bypass surgery.