BBC, Mar. 10, 2003
A TV watchdog is to monitor a documentary which claims to contact the spirit of Princess Diana as part of a review into paranormal programming.
The show, The Spirit of Diana, is based on mediums who say they contacted the late princess in the afterlife.
It has already aired on US pay-per-view TV, and will be shown in the UK on Monday, although scenes of séances have been cut from the UK version.
The Independent Television Commission (ITC) says it will monitor the show as part of an attempt to track whether paranormal shows comply with rules.
“It’s a genre of programme which is becoming increasingly more popular on multi-channel TV,” an ITC spokesman told BBC News Online.
“We have explicit ITC programme codes that refer to the format in which occult programmes can be shown on TV. It’s important to check whether this kind of programming falls within the parameters set out in our programme codes.”
When shown on a US pay-per-view TV channel on Sunday, The Spirit of Diana featured footage of séances in Paris and London in which mediums said Diana was “having fun” in the afterlife.
She was also spending time with Mother Theresa and planned to marry Dodi Fayed, mediums Craig and Jane Hamilton-Parker claimed.
Viewers paid $14.95 (£9.50) to hear the mediums relay “messages” from the princess that her death was definitely an accident and that she was not bitter about it.
The show, which is to be shown on Living TV at 2100 GMT, also said she told the psychics that she liked the Queen and still loved the Prince of Wales, although not in the same way as Dodi.
US programme makers Associated Television International defended it against accusations of poor taste.
Executive producer Paul Sharratt said: “The main function of the programme is to discover the beautiful, compassionate, caring side of Diana.”
A spokesman for Diana’s ancestral home Althorp House has reportedly condemned the idea as “contemptible”.
“What possible good can come of something like this?” he was quoted as saying in his local newspaper, the Northampton Evening Telegraph.
The documentary is hosted by actor Patrick Macnee, former star of cult UK drama series The Avengers.
It features Mohamed Al Fayed – father of Diana’s boyfriend Dodi – and biographer Andrew Morton, author of Diana: Her True Story.
Other contributors include psychics Craig and Jane Hamilton-Parker, Diana’s astrologer Penny Thornton, psychic healer Simone Simmons and acupuncturist Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo.
The Hamilton-Parkers re-enacted driving through the tunnel in Paris where Diana and Dodi died in a car crash on 31 August 1997.
The couple reported that they had picked up vibes and messages from the princess and her partner.
“I feel very much that she is saying to me that she did love Dodi,” Mrs Hamilton-Parker says during the séance, and then appears to begin “channelling” Diana.
“Do you understand that a lot of people were saying untruths that I would not have married him,” Mrs Hamilton-Parker is seen to say.
“I want you to know that all I wanted was a man to walk beside me and (that) loved me.”