BBC insists it has right to release Diana video

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The Independent Online
PETER VICTOR

The BBC last night said it had total rights to the controversial Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales, due to be broadcast on Monday night.

The corporation said it had the rights to film of the interview after the Daily Mail reported that the Princess of Wales was insisting that she retains the copyright to her interview. The BBC had been expected to sell the interview on video in the run up to Christmas. At 12.99 a copy, a video of the as yet unseen video would have been expected to top the video charts.

A spokesman for the corporation said last night that no decision about releasing the tape had been made, but "no claim has come from the Princess of Wales, we have total rights".

Controversy over BBC journalist Martin Bashir's interview with the Princess refuses to die down. Last night, it was reported that Princess Diana's press aide had resigned after being kept in the dark over the interview. Australian Geoffrey Crawford is said to have felt humiliated that she had not been straightforward with him. Mr Crawford is officially the deputy press officer to the Queen, and took over responsibilities for the Princess after her marriage broke up.

Mr Crawford was in Argentina this week, planning the Princess' imminent trip to South America, when the news broke that she had given her interview to Panorama.

Buckingham Palace confirmed he will still be accompanying her on the working visit, along with the Princess's private secretary, Patrick Jephson.

Marmaduke Hussey, the BBC chairman, whose wife is Lady in Waiting to the Queen, is said to be unhappy about the secrecy surrounding the making of the programme. The BBC's governors are now expected to examine the corporation's guidelines for dealing with royal matters.

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