Former BBC director Lord Tony Hall has resigned from his position as chairman of the National Gallery in the wake of controversy over the BBC’s 1995 ‘Panorama’ interview with Princess Diana.
Lord Hall, who was the BBC’s director of news and current affairs when journalist Martin Bashir used fake documents to secure an interview with Princess Diana, apologised for his involvement on Saturday and said that staying at his National Gallery job in the wake of the controversy “would be a distraction.”
“I am very sorry for the events of 25 years ago and I believe leadership means taking responsibility,” he declared.
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Lord Hall had faced pressure to resign since an official inquiry from former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson concluded that Bashir – who worked under Lord Hall in 1995 – had used “deceitful behaviour” to obtain the interview in what was a “serious breach of the BBC’s Producers’ Guidelines.”
The former BBC director had initially investigated Bashir’s practices in 1996, but concluded the journalist was an “honest and honourable man.” Bashir remained at the BBC until 1996 and then came back in 2016 – working there until this year.
Unnamed Conservative MPs had told the Telegraph this week that Lord Hall should “fall on his sword” to avoid causing “significant embarrassment” to Prince Charles, who serves as the Royal Patron of the National Gallery and was Princess Diana’s ex-husband.
Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, condemned the BBC’s practices following the results of the inquiry, with Prince William claiming that the “deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced” Princess Diana’s fear and paranoia in her final years.
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