WARNING! GRAPHIC DEATH PICTURES AT END OF ARTICLE! WARNING!
Photos of dying Diana create furore
By Mimi Turner
LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Channel 4 on Monday said it will go ahead with the broadcast of a film showing previously unseen photographs of Princess Diana in the car crash that killed her in 1997, despite anger from her friends and criticism from politicians.
The broadcaster, which earlier this year stoked controversy with the fictionalized assassination of President George Bush in "Death of a President," has denied the program is sensationalizing Diana's death and has described the film as "responsible."
It will broadcast "Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel" next week, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death. Newspapers have reported that the program features previously unpublished photographs of the princess receiving medical attention from a doctor as she lay dying in the back of the black Mercedes S-class vehicle in which her lover, Dodi Fayed, and the driver, Henri Paul, also were killed.
Very few of the photos taken by paparazzi and passers by on the night of the crash in August 1997 have surfaced in the media, and many were confiscated as evidence by the French legal authorities in the aftermath of the crash in the Pont d'Alma in Paris.
The broadcaster said the images shown in the program, which was made by its history department, have been "carefully and sensitively selected" and that the identities of those in the car had been blacked out.
"These photographs are an important and accurate eyewitness record of how events unfolded after the crash," a Channel 4 statement said.
"We acknowledge there is great public sensitivity surrounding pictures of the victims and these have not been included," Channel 4 said, adding that it believed the events were the subject of "genuine public interest" to know how the events leading to Diana's death had unfolded.
The broadcaster's comment have not mollified critics.
In an interview for BBC radio, long-time Diana family friend Rosa Monckton accused Channel 4 of using the footage to lure viewers and said it would damage her sons.
"They must have released the fact that they were using this image as part of their publicity campaign," Monckton told the "PM" program on BBC Radio 4. "Why else would people want to tune in? It's rather like how people stop on the motorway to look at car crashes, but they are summoning people, they are saying 'Roll up, roll up, come and look at this.'"
"She can't be hurt by this anymore but her sons can," she added.
Hugo Swire, the member of parliament who speaks for culture and media affairs for the opposition Conservative party, said the film would violate Diana's privacy and cause further grief to her sons.
"This kind of coverage must be deeply distressing to Princes William and Harry," Swire said. "It is difficult to see who will be served from broadcasting such sensational and private material," he said.
The Complete Article
The Princess Diana Death Pictures:
Are These Pictures Fakes?
It was an incredibly violent crash. No one was wearing a seatbelt. Paul and Fayed were dead. Dr. Frederic Maillez, an off duty emergency doctor, stopped his car 30 seconds later.
"I remember almost nobody around me walking toward the wreckage," he said. "And my first intention was to see if there were any victims."
An off-duty fireman was already tending to the bodyguard in the front seat. Without knowing who she was, and with little equipment, Maillez focused on Diana.
"She was laying on the floor of the car, she was unconscious," he said. "The first thing I had to do was to lift up her head, apply the respiratory bag so she could breathe a little bit better. What I could see is that she did not have any injury on her face. Her face was intact. Just a few drops of blood and that's it. She was still very beautiful, very sophisticated lady."
As Maillez worked, others began to arrive including the photographers who had been left behind.
"Little by little, there was more and more flash more and more photographs taken - there was like 'tsh tsh tsh,' " Maillez said.
So it would appear these pictures do match up to an eyewitness account of how Diana appeared after the accident.