Belfast Telegraph

Channel 4 to air unseen Diana footage

By Laura Elston

A new documentary about Diana, Princess of Wales featuring controversial video tapes recorded by her voice coach is to be shown on Channel 4.

Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Princess's death, the film includes Diana speaking candidly and informally about her upbringing, her courtship with the Prince of Wales, her troubled marriage and her public life.

The tapes - recorded by Diana's speech coach Peter Settelen - have never before been broadcast on British television - and some of the footage is being shown for the first time.

The announcement that the video tapes are to be aired in the UK came as ITV screened its own Diana documentary last night.

This featured the Princess's sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, opening up about their loss, including their remorse at their final, brief phone call with their mother.

Diana hired Mr Settelen between 1992 and 1993 to help with her public speaking voice, following her collaboration with author Andrew Morton on a biography, and ahead of her bombshell Panorama interview in 1995.

The footage, captured at her private residence in Kensington Palace, shows Diana rehearsing her speaking voice and reflecting at length about her life.

Ralph Lee, Channel 4's head of factual, commissioned Kaboom Film & TV to produce Diana: In Her Own Words with award-winning director Kevin Sim.

Lee said the documentary was an "important contribution to the historical record".

"The tapes, which show a relaxed and off-duty Diana, are hugely illuminating about her personality, humour and charm," he said.

"Combined with historical context and interviews with her closest confidants, this film provides a nuanced, multi-layered portrait of the most famous woman in the world and a mother who has shaped the future line of the Royal Family.

"This film gives Diana a voice and places it front and centre at a time when the nation will be reflecting on her life and death.

"It is her account of events both private and public and is an important contribution to the historical record."

Others who feature in the film include the Princess's long-term friend of more than 30 years, Dr James Colthurst, and her ballet teacher Anne Allan, who are speaking on the record for the first time.

The Channel 4 film will be shown in early August - the same month as the 20th anniversary of Diana's death in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

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