Martin Bashir is ‘seriously unwell’ with coronavirus: BBC says journalist who interviewed Princess Diana 25 years ago is suffering ‘complications’ from the disease

  • Journalist Martin Bashir is ‘seriously unwell’ with Covid-19 related complications
  • The 57-year-old is currently working as the BBC News channel’s religion editor
  • Illness comes amid renewed interest in his career-making 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana

Veteran journalist Martin Bashir is ‘seriously unwell’ with coronavirus-related complications, the BBC has said.

The 57-year-old, best known for his 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, currently works as the BBC News religion editor.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: ‘We are sorry to say that Martin is seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications.

Veteran journalist Martin Bashir is ‘seriously unwell’ with coronavirus-related complications, the BBC has said

‘Everyone at the BBC is wishing him a full recovery.

‘We’d ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time.’

His colleague Simon McCoy sent a message of support on hearing the news: ‘Wishing you well – and thinking of you.’

Bashir began working as a journalist in 1986 but made headlines around the world in 1995 for his BBC interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for Panorama.

The controversial interview has seen renewed interest this month ahead of a new Channel 4 film examines the circumstances behind the meeting, which aired tonight.

Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview, which marks the broadcast’s 25th anniversary, raises questions on the ethics of the tell-all chat.

News of Bashir’s illness comes amid renewed interest in his career-making 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana

The documentary alleges the reason she decided to take the BBC interview was because her brother, Earl Spencer, was shown forged bank statements created by someone working for the BBC.

The documents showed payments worth £10,500 from two companies, one of which was News International, and the other was from a company with an invented name.

The graphic designer who says he mocked up the false documents even explained on the documentary how he did it.

Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton claimed: ‘Speaking to those in Diana’s circle at that time, you could get a sense why those bank statements were a tipping point that made her mind up to sit down and speak about her life.’

The BBC made a statement which acknowledged the document was shown to Earl Spencer, but said it had a letter from Diana confirming this did not mislead her into taking the interview.

But in 2007, it was claimed this letter either did not exist or had been list, which Andrew casts doubt upon.

‘If they received a letter basically saying the Princess of Wales, herself, was very happy about the way the programme was made, that would bomb-proof them against any future concerns,’ he said.

A handwritten note from Princess Diana attested to the fact the Princess had not seen the ‘mocked-up’ bank statements and that they played no part in her decision to give the interview. 

Bashir’s other high-profile interviews have included the suspects in the Stephen Lawrence murder case, entertainer Michael Barrymore, Jeffrey Archer and Major Charles Ingram, dubbed ‘the coughing major’.

In 2003, he conducted a series of interviews with pop singer Michael Jackson for the controversial ITV documentary Living With Michael Jackson.

He later moved to the US where he co-anchored the current affairs show Nightline on ABC before moving to MSNBC, where he served as a political commentator until 2013.

He subsequently returned to the BBC as the broadcaster’s religion editor.

October 2019 saw him compete in the celebrity spin-off of X Factor.

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