Channel 4 defends Diana documentary

Channel 4 claims it is acting no worse than the British press did after Princess Diana’s death by showing never before seen photographs of her last moments in a new documentary.

In Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel, to be screened next week, Channel 4 has for the first time interviewed French paparazzi who arrived at scene of her death in a Paris underpass in the early hours of 31 August, 1997.

Diana, 36, and her lover Dodi al Fayed, 42, were killed when their Mercedes crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel as they sped away from pursuing photographers after leaving the Ritz Hotel.

Controversially, the programme will feature a picture of the late princess shortly after the crash and only hours before she died, though her face will be blacked out. Italian magazine Chi printed the same picture last July.

A spokesman for the broadcaster said the programme was not an attempt to sensationalise Diana’s death, but an attempt to deal with a subject of genuine public interest.

‘At no time do we ever or have we intended to show pictures of the victims’ final moments.

‘There are a number of stills in the final documentary which are used to illustrate the eye-witness accounts of the photographers and passers-by as well.

‘In many senses we’re going no further than newspapers have gone before.

‘Diana’s death has been a defining moment in British history and there is genuine public interest in what happened after the crash.”

Channel 4 has denied claims in The Observer this week, which claimed that the documentary will show a picture of Diana receiving oxygen and medical treatment from a passing doctor.

The spokesman said that interviews with around eight paparazzi that arrived at the scene minutes after the crash suggest that they did not restrict the doctor’s access to the car.

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