Former BBC Head Resigns From Museum Position Following Diana Interview Revelations

Former BBC Head Resigns From Museum Position Following Diana Interview Revelations

Tony Hall, who was the head of the BBC’s news and current affairs division in 1995, has stepped down from his current position as board chairman of Britain’s National Gallery, according to reports. This comes in the wake of revelations surrounding Princess Diana’s controversial appearance on the program Panorama, and the misleading tactics used by interviewer Martin Bashir.

Hall, whose full title is The Right Honorable Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE, and is also a life peer in Britain’s Parliament, was the director of news at the BBC from 1993 to 2001. After some time as chief executive at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the 70-year-old returned to the BBC as director-general from 2013 to 2020. (Oddly enough, Hall swooped back in during a tumultuous period following a different scandal.)

On Saturday, Hall said that staying on at the National Gallery would be a “distraction to an institution I care deeply about,” and added that “I believe leadership means taking responsibility.”

On Thursday, a 126-page report was published by a retired judge of Britain’s Supreme Court, Lord John Dyson. It concluded that the BBC covered up “deceitful behavior” by Bashir, who was then an up-and-coming reporter. Bashir gained Diana’s trust by having falsified bank statements created, meant to suggest a security guard within the royal family was being bribed.

Hall was called “woefully ineffective” in the Dyson report.

Diana’s sons, Prince Harry and Prince William, who are hardly seeing eye-to-eye right now, each applauded the report, and were strong in their outrage against the BBC. “The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” said the Duke of Sussex.

The November 20, 1995 interview was shocking in its candor, with Diana speaking about the pressures of royal life and commenting on Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles‘s relationship, famously saying “there were three of us in this marriage, so it became a bit crowded.”

Martin Bashir quit his position at the BBC week prior to the report being made public, citing health issues. On Thursday, the BBC said it would be returning the BAFTA Award for the now disgraced Panorama episode.

More Great Stories From Vanity Fair

— An Intimate View of a Young Queen Elizabeth II
— The Sacklers Launched OxyContin. Everyone Knows It Now.
— Exclusive Excerpt: An Icy Death at the Bottom of the World
Lolita, Blake Bailey, and Me
— Kate Middleton and the Future of the Monarchy
— The Occasional Terror of Dating in the Digital Age
— The 13 Best Face Oils for Healthy, Balanced Skin
— From the Archive: Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”
— Sign up for the “Royal Watch” newsletter to receive all the chatter from Kensington Palace and beyond.

Published at Sat, 22 May 2021 16:55:08 +0000