EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Mystery over the fate of Diana’s note exonerating Martin Bashir of any wrongdoing for infamous Panorama interview

Princess Diana’s note exonerating Martin Bashir of any wrongdoing in procuring her Panorama interview was initially kept as a memento in programme editor Steve Hewlett’s safe, claims ex-Panorama reporter Tom Mangold. 

Missing for 24 years, it was, claims Mangold in The Critic, ‘stolen by an unnamed someone and taken home’. 

He adds that the culprit alerted the BBC in November 2020 and ‘on the same day, someone from the BBC went to his house and collected it’. 

Mangold declines to name the note’s custodian and Hewlett, who could shed some light on the theft, died in 2017. Deep waters.

EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Princess Diana’s note exonerating Martin Bashir of any wrongdoing in procuring her Panorama interview was initially kept as a memento in programme editor Steve Hewlett’s safe, claims ex-Panorama reporter Tom Mangold

Broadcaster Ed Stourton cringed when he listened to himself on the 1989 Late Show, telling Radio Times: ‘I was haunted by my much younger self speaking in a voice way posher than the late Queen’s.’ 

He adds: ‘When I joined Today many decades later, I was accused of being a ‘softly spoken toff’ with a ‘Stourton drawl’.’ 

Now he admits he has ‘flattened’ his Ampleforth accent, but not quite as much as the 1940s BBC radio celebrity ‘ee bah gum’ Wilfred Pickles.

Playing the mother of Sheridan Smith, pictured, in Sky’s new black comedy Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything, Pauline ‘Mrs Doyle’ McLynn is overawed by the talent of the star of Cilla and Mrs Biggs. 

‘I’d be very proud if she were my daughter in real life,’ she jokes. 

‘I never bothered to have kids, but if I had, I’d have asked, ‘Please can I have a Sheridan?’

Director Trevor Nunn reveals a hidden talent of Dame Judi Dench, recalling late-night walks back to theatrical digs in Oxford: ‘She would say, ‘Time for the handstand competition.’ 

He says: ‘She would challenge me and do a handstand against a wall and I had to do one to see who could stay upright for the longest.’ 

Surely both are a profound loss to Gerry Cottle’s travelling circus.

Impressionist Jan Ravens mourns the demise of Liz Truss, who came and went from Downing Street after only one run of Dead Ringers. 

‘She was a golden opportunity,’ Jan tells Radio Times. ‘If only she’d held back a bit! It was a shame. It was like she was this little girl whose daddy had always told her she was funny.’ 

Liz wasn’t chuckling when she entered the record books as the shortest presiding blink-and-you-miss-her PM.

Frances Campbell-Preston, who has died aged 104, fretted about her underwear being acceptable when she was appointed lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother in 1965. 

She was assured that her Marks and Spencer undergarments were acceptable as long as the labels were removed.

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