The whistleblower who tried to expose Martin Bashir’s methods for landing his exclusive Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales has said he wants to “move on” after he received a personal apology from the director-general of the BBC.
Graphic designer Matt Wiessler was sidelined by the corporation after raising concerns that fake bank statements he mocked up for Bashir had been used by the journalist to persuade Diana to do the interview.
Speaking after a meeting at the BBC where he received a personal apology from current director-general Tim Davie, he was asked why the apology was important to him.
He told BBC News he had come away from the meeting feeling that the corporation wanted to “clear up the past and start again on a sort of friendly relationship”.
Asked about the prospect of being paid compensation, he said: “There might well be but I’m not involved in that and Tim and I have spoken about that quite openly, it’s sort of confidential but we very much both just want to move on.”
Davie said last week the BBC would engage in a legal discussion around compensation “because clearly we were at fault”.
An investigation by Lord Dyson into the interview criticised the methods Bashir used to secure his bombshell 1995 Panorama interview, saying he used “deceitful behaviour” in a “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines.
The report also suggested the BBC had failed to uphold “governance, accountability and scrutiny”.
The report revealed how then director of news Lord Tony Hall told then BBC director general Lord Birt in 1996: “We are taking steps to ensure that the graphic designer involved – Matthew Wiessler – will not work for the BBC again (when a current contract expires in the next few weeks).”
A BBC spokesperson said of the meeting: “It was both constructive and positive, but as you’d expect, we are not going to get into the specifics of a private meeting.”
A question mark remains over why Bashir was rehired by the BBC as religion editor in 2016 despite his previous actions.
Davie promised a “quick” investigation with the results now expected to be published next week.