Princess Diana’s bombshell Panorama interview given to journalist Martin Bashir in 1995 is set to be dramatised in the next series of The Crown, according to reports.
Conducted by Bashir, who was a BBC journalist at the time, the interview made headlines around the world as Diana spoke candidly about her marriage to Prince Charles, famously saying: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
It has been back in the spotlight this year, following a report that the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by Bashir to secure the interview.
This led to Prince William saying it “contributed significantly” to his mother’s “fear, paranoia and isolation” – and calling for the episode to never be broadcast again.
Filming for the next series of The Crown is under way, with Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki portraying Charles and Diana.
The lavish series has dramatised the Royal Family from the Queen’s wedding in 1947, with different actors portraying the royals over the years, and first introduced Diana in series four.
A report in The Sun, citing an insider on the Netflix show, says its creators see the infamous Panorama interview as “the keystone moment in series five”, which is set to air in November 2022.
The source continues: “To the writers, the stormy marriage between Charles and Di led up to her outpouring on Panorama, and the aftermath of that decision defined her final months.
“They are making a huge investment in that. The Crown has a track record of delving into areas of the Royal Family’s history they’d rather be left alone.”
Netflix has said it is not commenting on the report, but has not denied it.
Earlier in 2021, Lord Dyson’s report on the Panorama interview concluded that Bashir was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, to gain access to the princess for the interview.
Following the report, both William and Harry issued statements condemning the BBC’s actions, with the Duke of Cambridge saying: “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
The BBC wrote to the Royal Family to apologise for the circumstances surrounding the interview, while in an interview, Bashir said sorry to Harry and William but stopped short of admitting that he duped Diana into the interview.
In 2020, Harry and wife Meghan signed a deal with Netflix, reportedly worth $100 million (about £76 million), to produce a range of films and series for the streaming service.
The Crown was due to end after the fifth series, but the show’s creator and writer, Peter Morgan, later said it will be extended to include a sixth.
West, best known for series including The Wire and The Affair, takes over the role of Prince Charles from Josh O’Connor, while Debicki, star of The Night Manager and Tenet, replaces Emma Corrin for series five.
After two series of playing the Queen, Oscar winner Olivia Colman is stepping down and Imelda Staunton is set to take the reins, and Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller joins the cast as Prime Minister Sir John Major.