Ex-BBC chief brands Bashir’s Diana interview 'one of biggest crimes in history of broadcasting'

THE Beeb chief in charge when Martin Bashir’s Diana interview aired has called it one of the biggest crimes in broadcasting history.

Lord Birt was one of three senior BBC execs who grovelled in front of MPs yesterday.

The former director-general said Bashir was a “serial liar on an industrial scale”.

Lord Hall, who led a failed first probe into Bashir, apologised to Diana’s sons William and Harry.

Current DG Tim Davie admitted Bashir should never have been rehired.

He had private meetings with royals in recent weeks after William slammed the BBC.

Bashir, now 58, faked bank statements to get the explosive 1995 interview with Diana.

Despite details later emerging, a probe led by Lord Hall found him to be “honest”.

Bashir was rehired under his leadership, becoming religious affairs correspondent in 2016.

Yesterday the peer claimed Bashir had been “contrite and in tears” during his original 1996 investigation.

He also “quizzed him really, really hard”.

Tory MP Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, described the decision to rehire Bashir as “utterly extraordinary”. He said there had been “a failure of morality”.

Lord Birt called Bashir “a very skilled confidence trickster”.

Diana died two years after the interview. Lord Birt said: “He perpetrated one of the biggest crimes in the history of broadcasting. “It is an absolute horror story, and it should never have happened.

"My heart goes out to the sons of Princess Diana, but none of us can truly speculate and understand what the consequences are.”

He refused to apologise to graphic designer Matt Wiessler, who was blacklisted by the BBC after raising the alarm over Bashir.

Mr Davie added: “I have engaged with the royal household directly.”

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