ENTERTAINMENT

'Diana: In Her Own Words' Reviews: TV Critics Slam Channel 4's Controversial Documentary

'Pretentious and trashy.'

07/08/2017 11:19 BST | Updated 07/08/2017 15:30 BST

TV critics have panned Channel 4′s controversial Princess Diana documentary, after it aired on Sunday (6 August) night. 

The 110-minute film featured private video footage of the late royal speaking to her voice coach, ahead of her infamous 1995 ‘Panorama’ interview with Martin Bashir.

PA Wire/PA Images
Princess Diana opened up about her marriage to Prince Charles in the tapes

In the tapes, Diana opened up about her upbringing, the Royal Family and her marriage to Prince Charles.

Channel 4 had faced calls to pull the documentary from the schedules after it was met with widespread criticism from royal commentators, but the broadcaster ploughed on with its plans to air it.

However, it did not fare well with TV critics, with many claiming the show didn’t actually reveal any new information, and appeared “pretentious and trashy”.

Here’s what they had to say:

The Telegraph

″‘Diana: In Her Own Words’ was a foolish title for a foolish documentary. A lot has been made of its ‘exclusive footage’ in which she talked openly to her speech coach, Peter Settelen, a former actor who had once played the dastardly Mr Wickham in a 1980 BBC production of ‘Pride And Prejudice’.

“But to any royal obsessive, and many exist, there was nothing said by Diana, Princess of Wales to camera that hadn’t already appeared in print.”

The i

“In truth, it was less ‘Diana: In Her Own Words’ than ‘Diana: 10 Minutes Of Her Words And A Fair Few Knowing Looks Accompanied By Lots Of Chat from People Who Knew Her’. No doubt Channel 4 was delighted by the publicity generated all week, but in the end the footage was less controversial than might have been expected.”

The Guardian

“The film is also manipulative, scored with a gloomy flute constantly telling the audience how moved to be. The editing is slick, but also often sly.

“Clips of Diana nodding and listening in the Settelen interviews are intercut in such a way that she appears to be watching and reacting to her husband’s 1994 ITV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby.

“Even more questionably, some of the recreated Panorama speeches are played over footage of her funeral, so that she seems to be posthumously commentating, like the narrator of ‘Desperate Housewives’.”

The Times

“Diana: In Her Own Words was pretentious and trashy. But within it wronged Diana, in her sweetness and confusion, lived again. If you could forgive the attendant ickiness, that apparition was worth gazing upon.”

However, the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir gave the documentary a more favourable write-up:

Daily Mail

“Actually, I think that Diana would love these videotaped sessions from 1992 being broadcast. Adore it! For the recordings show her in a golden light; rueful, amused, heartbreakingly vivacious and beautiful, noble in her obvious loneliness.”

You can catch up on ‘Diana: In Her Own Words’ on All4 now. 

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    Princess Diana Prince Charles and Princess Diana tour of the Gulf States, 1989
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    Princess Diana at Dartmouth Naval College, Devon, 1989
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    Princess Diana British Royal Tour of Gulf States, 1989
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    Prince Charles and Princess Diana on Tour of the Gulf States, 1989
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    Princess Diana visiting Bristol, 1989
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     Princess Diana visiting Cardiff, 1989
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    Princess Diana 'Miss Saigon' at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 1989
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    Princess Diana in Worksop, 1989
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    Princess Diana, 1989
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    Princess Diana, St Albans, 1989