Eastbourne’s ‘secretive’ role in the famous Princess Diana interview

An Eastbourne hotel had a big part to play in the famous Panorama interview that Princess Diana did with Martin Bashir, according to a new TV documentary.
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The documentary The Diana Interview: Revenge of the Princess told viewers how Eastbourne was the location for editing the footage together after filming took place in London.

It said how after a ‘tense two and a half hours’ of filming, the interview came to a close and champagne was had by both parties before the footage was taken out of London. Due to the sensitive nature of the contents of the interview, the documentary said how the team felt they had to take the footage out of the capital.

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The documentary said the interview was kept secret from the chairman of the BBC at the time, Duke Hussey, due to his wife being the Queen’s lady-in-waiting and godmother to Prince William. As the interview was done without Duke Hussey’s knowledge, the editing process had to be very secretive too according to the documentary.

The programme narrator said, “A clandestine edit room was set up miles away from the BBC in an Eastbourne hotel suite.

“They had less than two weeks to make the transmission and the film editor had not even been told about the content.”

All of this was said over shots of The Grand Hotel, however it was never explicitly revealed to be the premier seafront hotel that was the editing location.

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A week after the footage had got to Eastbourne, the BBC executives visited the town for an update.

Richard Ayre, the BBC’s controller of editorial policy between 1993 and 1996, said, “This was probably the least likely place for a world scoop to be produced. Everything was black, highly secretive.”

Coinciding with the release of the documentary, an investigation has now been launched to determine whether the steps taken to obtain the interview in the first place were appropriate.