£500,000 of licence fee payers’ money was wasted by the BBC on a controversial programme about Princess Diana that never went to air over fears of upsetting the Royal Family.
‘Diana: Her Story, Her Words’ was made by Kevin Sim an award-winning director and included extracts from video tapes of the Princess recorded by her voice coach Peter Settelen. In the taped sessions, Diana talked frankly about her unhappy marriage to Prince Charles and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
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According to the director behind a controversial documentary about the Princess of Wales, the BBC went on to give a misleading account of why the programme was not broadcast.
The Corporation said at the time that Diana: Her Story, Her Words, due to be broadcast on the tenth anniversary of her death, did not sufficiently add to the story of Diana’s life.
But, in another controversial documentary being aired tonight, it is claimed the BBC stopped its broadcast amid fears it would upset the Royal Family close to Prince’s Charles 60th birthday.
The extraordinary claims are featured in Reinventing The Royals, which hit the headlines late last year after Clarence House allegedly tried to stop the programme being broadcast – a claim it vehemently denies.
Diana: Her Story, Her Words, made by award-winning director Kevin Sim, had included extracts from video tapes of the Princess, taped in 1992 and 1993.
The tapes have been broadcast only once – on American television network NBC, in 2004.
Such was the controversy caused by their screening that the tapes were not sold to other broadcasters.
But, three years later, the BBC spent more than £30,000 buying an option to broadcast three minutes of the tapes for the programme.
The documentary was later axed, with the BBC claiming it did not ‘add’ to Diana’s story – despite having spent hundreds of thousands on its production.
But, in Reinventing the Royals, Mr Sim apparently casts down on why the BBC stopped the recordings being aired.
According to the The Daily Express, he tells the programme: ‘We had a considerable amount of taped interviews with Diana – in terms of giving you the key to Diana the woman, these were dynamite.’
He adds: ‘We were told, “well, it’s quite difficult – Prince Charles is 60 and we’ve got exclusive access to him, with Charles, and we don’t really want to offend him at this juncture. We wouldn’t want to do anything at all, for example, that would mean he would pull out of the film”.’
The tapes were compiled by Diana’s voice coach Peter Settelen, an American actor now based in Britain, over several sessions.
Diana, shy by nature, employed him to help her practise public speaking as she became increasingly independent of Prince Charles.
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