11 October 2023

Images released of play about Panorama interview show a pensive Diana

11 October 2023

Images have been released showing an actress portraying Diana, Princess of Wales looking serious and pensive as a play exploring the royal’s explosive Panorama interview is set to take to the stage.

Yolanda Kettle, who previously starred in Netflix’s The Crown as the wife of inventor Jeremy Fry, will play Diana, as Saving Christmas Spirit star Tibu Fortes takes on the role of former BBC journalist Martin Bashir in The Interview at London’s Park Theatre.

In the pictures, Kettle has short, blonde hair and is wearing a navy suit and white top, clothes which appear to replicate those Diana wore in the original BBC programme.

She also looks down at her feet as a black camera is pointed in her direction and she sits on a formal grey chair.

Former journalist Jonathan Maitland, who was behind The Last Temptation Of Boris Johnson and An Audience With Jimmy Savile, wrote the production and Michael Fentiman – who worked on a musical version of Olivier-nominated Amelie –  serves as director.

The play is described as giving “an insight into the story behind the interview: the woman who gave it, the man who made it happen and the institution that broadcast it”.

Fentiman said: “Jonathan Maitland is a writer of great integrity and bravery and it’s been an honour to be trusted with his play.”

The things that led to the famous interview and the events that came after it revealed much about our country and its institutions

Maitland previously told the PA news agency that “substantial chunks” of the interview would not be used due to copyright law and the view of the Prince of Wales.

A report by Lord Dyson concluded in 2021 that the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” by Bashir to secure the meeting and led to a call from William for it never to be aired again.

Maitland said: “The things that led to the famous interview and the events that came after it revealed much about our country and its institutions.

“It’s definitely the stuff of drama and I can’t wait to see our superb cast and brilliant director Michael Fentiman bring it all to life.”

Also in the cast is Finding Alice star Matthew Flynn as former royal butler-turned-I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! contestant Paul Burrell, Belgravia star Naomi Frederick as a character called Luciana Dyson and Spotless actor Ciaran Owens as Matt Wiessler.

In October 2021, a financial settlement between the BBC and graphic designer Mr Wiessler was reached after he claimed he was side-lined and alleged he was made the scapegoat for the scandal despite attempting to raise the issue at the time.

Mr Wiessler was commissioned by Bashir to create mocked-up documents used by the journalist to persuade Diana to do the 1995 interview.

He received a personal apology from BBC director-general Tim Davie following the Dyson report.

The Interview runs from October 27 to November 25 at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, London.

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