Princess Diana was interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir on the program. An independent investigation into the program, conducted by Lord Dyson, found that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.” The Dyson report also found that Bashir used deceitful methods to gain access to Princess Diana, including allegedly forging bank statements.
Killick, formerly a “Panorama” senior reporter and producer, informed the BBC about the forged bank statements. His position was terminated within a day.
“The BBC’s attempt to try and destroy my reputation rather than investigate my concerns shows just how desperate the BBC was to hide what had happened,” Killick said. “It was an extraordinary attempt to cover up wrongdoing and the climate of fear it created may well have stopped other BBC whistleblowers from speaking out for a generation. I still find it staggering that the BBC was so determined to conceal the truth that it launched a smear campaign against me to protect its tainted scoop.”
“I am grateful to [BBC director general] Tim Davie and his team for finally setting the record straight. But the damage to the BBC’s reputation is immense and you can understand if BBC employees no longer have the courage to speak truth to power,” Killick added.
The BBC said in a statement: “The BBC apologizes unreservedly for defamatory statements made of Mr. Killick in 1996 in internal BBC documents during the corporation’s investigations into events surrounding the interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. Mr. Killick acted entirely properly in referring his concerns about Martin Bashir’s interview with Diana, Princess of Wales to senior management. The BBC has agreed to pay Mr. Killick a significant sum in damages and costs, and we wish him all the best for the future.”
This is the latest in a series of repercussions for the BBC over the “Panorama” interview. In March, the BBC paid Commander Patrick Jephson, who was private secretary to Princess Diana, “a substantial sum in damages.”
Graphic designer Matt Wiessler, who has said that he was asked to create the bank documents by Bashir, showing that Jephson and a colleague had received off-shore payments, also received damages from the BBC in 2021.