The Best on the Box highlight for this Sunday evening takes us to Channel 5.
It was one of the most extraordinary moments in television history – a programme that split the higher ranks of the BBC and threatened to bring down the monarchy.
Twenty-five years ago, on 20th November 1995, BBC Panorama broadcast the television scoop of the century: an interview with Princess Diana in which she candidly opened up to Martin Bashir about her
marriage to Prince Charles and her life as a member of the British royal family
A staggering 22.8 million people in Britain and a huge worldwide audience tuned in to watch as the Princess broke every rule of royal protocol.
Diana once famously joked she was ‘thick as two short planks’, yet revelations in this film challenge us to see the Princess in a whole new light – authoring a stunning coup against those she dubbed ‘the enemy’.
With testimony from both Beeb insiders and some of those closest to the late Diana, Channel 5 get ahead of Channel 4 – who only this week announced their own documentary on the Panorama Princess edition – to uncover why the Princess chose to take this extraordinary gamble and reveal how Martin Bashir – then a comparatively unknown BBC outsider – came to gain her trust.
It’s a story that has all the hallmarks of a thriller – taking in secrets, lies and even fears of a leak via a Lady in Waiting to the Queen herself. Twenty-three years after her death, it may seem as if every aspect of Diana’s life has already been examined. Yet this 90-minute film by Rogan Productions challenges viewers to see the Princess afresh – discovering how her Panorama interview shifted our attitude toward the monarchy, women and Britain more broadly – often in ways that were unforeseen when it was first broadcast.
A compelling, layered and emotive account of a moment we all remember, but only now fully comprehend. – Channel 5