IT is shocking that a BBC journalist, Martin Bashir, used faked documents in order to get the famous interview with Princess Diana, which was screened in 1995.

It is equally shocking that a BBC investigation into the claims at the time failed to uncover this fake, and did not even interview Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, who was shown the documents in order for Bashir to gain access to Diana.

Indeed, it looks as if the BBC covered up Bashir’s actions and, as usual, the cover-up is worse than the original crime. The faking of the documents could have been explained as a one-off error of judgement or as the actions of a rogue individual; a cover-up is systemic and institutional.

It is ironic that the journalistic forgery has been uncovered by the persistence of other journalists.

The BBC’s many critics and competitors, who see it as a subsidised blob which tries to fill all the media space, will take great delight in beating the corporation with this particular stick.

Whether you can really connect the fakery around the interview with Diana’s death two years later is debatable, but it is despicable to exploit the emotional and painful environment of a marriage break-up in this way. The cover-up then makes it a blot that seeps through many layers of the BBC.