The Controversial Interview That Will Take Up An Entire Episode In Season 5 Of The Crown

In "The Crown" season 5, Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana during the final years of her life. This will include Queen Elizabeth II's "annus horribilis" of 1992, which saw two separations and a divorce – including the split between King Charles III and Diana, the then Princess of Wales (via the Independent). "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back on with undiluted pleasure," the queen said during a luncheon in London. "In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis.' I suspect that I am not alone in thinking so."

The drama certainly didn't stop there. In November 1995, the royal family experienced more controversy when Diana sat down with BBC journalist Martin Bashir for a tell-all interview for their "Panorama" program (via Harper's Bazaar). Unsurprisingly, this will reportedly take up an entire episode of "The Crown" season 5. But how exactly will the writers tackle such a sensitive subject, especially following the controversy surrounding how the interview was obtained in the first place?

The Crown's Dominic West said season 5 is as tumultuous as it gets

Simply titled "An Interview With HRH The Princess of Wales," the BBC program became an explosive tell-all about Princess Diana's experience of being married to King Charles III — particularly her knowledge of Charles's affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, now Queen Consort (via the BBC). Diana famously said, "there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," during the interview. She also admitted to having an affair with James Hewitt, a British military officer (via People).

Described by Dominic West, who plays Charles in Season 5 of "The Crown," as being "as tumultuous as it gets" (via Deadline), the retelling of this interview will be even more dramatic and heartbreaking following the revelations in May 2021 that the BBC used "deceitful" measures to get Diana to agree to the interview in the first place (via Harper's Bazaar). Following an internal investigation by the BBC, it was revealed that Martin Bashir forged bank statements to persuade Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, to agree to do the interview. The investigation found that Bashir "lied and maintained the lie until he realized that it was no longer sustainable," describing the journalist's actions as the "most reprehensible behavior which casts considerable doubt on his credibility generally."

Prince William and Prince Harry have spoken out against the Panorama interview

With this information firmly in the public sphere, "The Crown" will most likely handle the "Panorama" interview differently than initially thought. While the nature of the episode and its coverage of the interview hasn't been confirmed by its writer Peter Morgan nor Netflix, a source close to the show told the Press Association (PA) that "it will reflect what we know about how the interview was obtained and how Diana was treated" (via RadioTimes).

William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, issued statements following the BBC's internal investigation in 2021 (via Vanity Fair). William said that it was "his view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said" and that it "brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC's failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia, and isolation that I remember from those final years with her." In a separate statement, Harry added that the "ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life."