TV

Viewers divided as Channel 4 broadcasts controversial film Diana In Her Own Words

Those who objected to the screening still watched in their droves...

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Tonight’s documentary Diana In Her Own Words landed on Channel 4 in a blaze of controversy.

The 110-minute programme featured footage, previously unaired in the UK, of Diana speaking extremely frankly about the trials and tribulations of her life after meeting Prince Charles.

This candid content was shot by Diana’s speech coach, Peter Settelen, between 1992 and 1993, and was not created for public consumption.

For the past week, commentators on both sides of the fence have argued about whether the documentary should be screened.

Diana discusses her life after meeting Charles in the film (Credit: Internet)

Diana’s close friend Rosa Monckton publicly condemned it, stating: “I think it’s completely inappropriate that they are being shown publicly.

“The tapes should have been sent to the boys. They should definitely have been sent to her sons.

“I just think it is absolutely disgusting.”

Read more: Princes Harry and William reveal big regret about the last time they spoke to their mum

Royal biographer Penny Junor also slammed it.

“This is just another way of exploiting Diana,” she said. “It’s not what Charles would want and it’s clearly not what the boys would want. It will be deeply hurtful to them.

“It seems to me a very bad idea to broadcast these tapes, especially at this difficult time for the family.”

It has been widely reported that Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, tried to stop the film being shown, for fear of the distress it could cause Princes William and Harry.

Some expressed concerns over the effect this film would have on Harry and William (Credit: Wenn)

Settelen’s solicitor, meanwhile, explained why he had passed on the footage.

“For the past 15 years Peter has been reluctant  to show the tapes,” he said.

“But now, coming up to the 20th anniversary, with everyone, including her own children, discussing Diana and revisiting her life, he wants Diana to be able to speak for herself. It’s about giving her a voice.”

Read more: Paparazzo who took pictures of Princess Diana as she was dying breaks silence on what he did with them

Despite criticism, Channel 4 last weekend released a statement justifying its decision to run the film.

A spokesperson said: “The excerpts from the tapes… are an important historical source.

“We carefully considered all the material used in the documentary and, though the recordings were made in private, the subjects covered are a matter of public record and provide a unique insight into the preparations Diana undertook to gain a public voice and tell her own personal story, which culminated in her later interview for Panorama.”

The film showed Diana’s humour as well as vulnerability (Credit: Channel 4)

And, tonight, the transmission went ahead as planned.

Viewers saw Diana talk about her awkward courtship with Prince Charles, discovering his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, her battle with bulimia and falling in love with her bodyguard.

But what did everyone think, having now watched it?

Twitter was awash with people who, despite being against the documentary being aired from the outset, had seemingly tuned in to wind themselves up some more.

There were some viewers who actively supported the documentary, however.

One thing surely everyone can agree on – Channel 4 bosses will doubtless be rubbing their hands with glee when the viewing figures come through in the morning.