Diana's brother Earl Spencer rejected The Crown request to film

Diana's brother Earl Spencer rejected The Crown request to film

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer rejected plea from producers of The Crown to film at family estate of Althorp – after it was revealed fifth series of Netflix hit would devote an entire episode to Bashir scandal

  • Forthcoming fifth series of The Crown stars Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana
  • Show is expected to dramatise her 1995 Panorama interview with Martin Bashir
  • Earl Spencer declined when producers of Netflix show asked to film at his estate

Earl Spencer revealed today that he had rejected The Crown’s request to film at his family home of Althorp, telling the producers: ‘Thank you but no thank you.’

The forthcoming fifth series of the royal Netflix drama stars Elizabeth Debicki as his late sister, Diana, Princess of Wales – taking over from Emma Corrin in series four.

The new season is expected to dramatise Diana’s headline-making BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995 as well as other key events in her later life.

Earlier this year, a scathing report by Lord Dyson concluded the BBC covered up ‘deceitful behaviour’ used by Mr Bashir to secure the bombshell interview. 

Speaking to BBC Breakfast at his family estate in Northamptonshire, Earl Spencer said he had declined when producers of The Crown asked to film on the site.

Earl Spencer told BBC Breakfast reporter Sally Nugent in today’s programme that he had rejected The Crown’s request to film at his family home of Althorp in Northamptonshire

The forthcoming fifth series of the Netflix drama The Crown stars Elizabeth Debicki as Diana

He said: ‘They applied. They wanted to shoot here. But I don’t really do that stuff. Actually, to be honest, I don’t watch The Crown so I just said: ‘Thank you but no thank you.’ 

In May, Lord Dyson’s report into Diana’s Panorama interview concluded Bashir was in ‘serious breach’ of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess for the interview.

It led to a call from the Duke of Cambridge for the interview never to be aired again. 

Earl Spencer said there remains ‘a long way to go’ with the investigation into the events surrounding the programme and did not rule out legal action.

He said: ‘Lord Dyson did a very good job. His brief was tiny. It was to look at a very specific area and there is still so much more to look at in the broader terms of who was responsible for what.

Princess Diana is seen during her interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC’s Panorama in 1995

Lord Dyson released a report in May into Diana’s BBC interview with Martin Bashir in 1995

‘How did it come to this? Did documents get hidden from view? All sorts of really important stuff which is yet to come out.

‘So I see the Lord Dyson report as a very welcome development but there is still a long way to go with this.’

He said it is clear to him ‘there are certain people who were in the BBC who have behaved in a way that is truly abysmal and possibly criminal’.

Asked how far he would take his investigation, he said: ‘That is the question and I have got people looking at that, and we will see. 

Earl Spencer said he declined when producers of The Crown asked to film at Althorp House

Earl Spencer (left), pictured with Princess Diana and Prince Charles at a birthday party in 1985

‘It is not going to end now. I am not saying that as some ugly threat. It just can’t stop now as there is still more to come out.’

Speaking about a potential private legal case, he added: ‘Everything is possible at this stage. I just wouldn’t want to box myself into a corner here.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Today’s BBC has aimed to be as open and transparent as possible about the events of 25 years ago. 

‘We held an independent, judge-led investigation which was concluded within six months and, separately, BBC News commissioned an edition of Panorama in which journalists robustly investigated their own employer.

Martin Bashir (pictured in April) who interviewed Diana for the BBC’s Panorama in 1995

Season four of The Crown features Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin as Charles and Diana

‘While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we made a full and unconditional apology the day Lord Dyson’s report was published.’

The fifth series of The Crown, due to air in November 2022, will see Dominic West star as the Prince of Wales opposite Debicki as Diana.

The Wire star West takes over the role of Charles from Josh O’Connor, while The Night Manager actress Debicki will replace Emma Corrin.

Imelda Staunton will take over the role of the Queen from Olivia Colman, while Jonathan Pryce will replace Tobias Menzies as the Duke of Edinburgh and Lesley Manville will take on Princess Margaret, following in the footsteps of Helena Bonham Carter.

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