BBC faces serious questions over Sir Jimmy Savile under-age sex allegations

Sir_Jimmy_Savile
 
Some would say that Sir Jimmy Savile always had a whiff of the unsavory about him. Before his death in 2011, there were plenty of rumors doing the rounds of the olde jingle-jangle jewelry master’s sexual peccadilloes, of which the most vicious was the allegation our sainted Jim enjoyed sexual congress with corpses at a local hospital. I first heard that story when I was at school in the 1970s, so you can imagine how ingrained these rumors became over the years. So much so that back in 2000, a fictional transcript of “Saville’s” appearance on the show Have I Got News For You, became a notorious internet meme. Last year, at the time of Savile’s death, the Thumbcast blog published an extract of this work of fiction which included:

Out-take 3:09’36
During the headline round:

DEAYTON: You used to be a wrestler didn’t you?

SAVILLE: I still am.

DEAYTON: Are you?

SAVILLE: I’m feared in every girls’ school in the country.
(Audience laugh)

DEAYTON: Yeah, I’ve heard about that.

SAVILLE: What have you heard?

DEAYTON: I’ve…

MERTON: Something about a cunt with a rancid, pus-filled cock.
Huge audience laugh; Awkward pause)

SAVILLE: I advise you to wash your mouth out, my friend…

MERTON: That’s what she had to do! (Audience laughs)

HISLOP: Weren’t you leaving money in phone boxes or something? (Saville glares at him) Or have I got completely the wrong end of the…

SAVILLE: (To Deayton, heavily) The question you asked was about wrestling.

DEAYTON: Yes. And then you mentioned girls’ schools. I don’t know whe…

SAVILLE: Well I understood this was a comedy programme. I realise now how wrong I was. (Audience laugh)

DEAYTON: So were you a professional wrestler?

SAVILLE: Yes I was.

Out-take 4: 21’20
Following a discussion about caravans:

DEAYTON: Last month, Roger Moore sold his luxury caravan in Malta.  Asked by the…

MERTON: I visited your caravan the other week, Jimmy.

SAVILLE: Did you really?

MERTON: Oh yes. Interesting what you can find, if you have a bit of a poke. (Audience laugh)

HISLOP: He just told you, it was twelve years ago…

SAVILLE: No, I lived in it for twelve years.

MERTON: And fucked twelve year olds. (Audience laugh)

DEAYTON: Here we go again…I’ll be backstage if anyone wants me.

MERTON: (Indicating Saville) That’s what you said to the kids on your show, wasn’t it? (Audience laugh)

SAVILLE: No, they never did want me.

HISLOP: Not even Sarah Cornley?

SAVILLE: She was an exception.

DEAYTON: Who’s Sarah Cornley?

SAVILLE: Sarah Cornley is…

HISLOP: About fifteen grand in damages, wasn’t she? (Uncertain audience laugh)

SAVILLE: That’s right.

HISLOP: So if I was going to mention that you threatened to break her arm if she said anything…

SAVILLE: You’d be very wrong. (Pause) I said I’d break both her arms.(Audience unease)

Let’s be clear - the above extract is a work of fiction (a longer version can be read here), which has been variously attributed to Victor Lewis-Smith and Chris Morris, amongst others, but as yet no one has come forward to claim writing it. However, it gives a fair indication as to the intensity of rumors associated with Savile.

Another, was Sir Jimmy’s alleged sexual shenanigans at various hospital locations throughout the U.K., the only consistent here was that the location changed and the depravity deepened with every re-telling.

What was never clear was why if these rumors had even a soupcon of fact they were never investigated by some tabloid journalist or ambitious Lestarde, who planned to put the cuffs on Sir Jim. Which is what one would expect, considering such high profile cases involving Gary Glitter, Jonathan King and even The Who’s Pete Townshend, over his dubious internet activity.

Which is why this week, I was surprised to hear that an unlikely source had come forward with allegations that Sir Jimmy had sex with under age girls during the 1970s. The source was the over sixties magazine, The Oldie, edited by former Private Eye chief Richard Ingrams.

The Oldie is usually filled with the chattering of baby boomers sharing tips on pensions, retirement plans, holidays, reports of memorial services and memories of the 1940s to 1960s when everything was hunky-dory with the world. It is not the kind of publication one would expect to find serious child sex allegations about popular TV celebrities. However, this week, Miles Goslett has done just that in his article, “Savile row”.

Goslett investigates why the BBC allegedly dropped a news report (for their current affairs show Newsnight), “investigating allegations of sexual abuse made against its long-serving employee Jimmy Savile?” Goslett explains that before Christmas the BBC broadcast two tribute programmes (one on TV, one on radio) that celebrated Savile’s life and career.

...No mention was made of the unsavoury rumours about Savile’s private life which had persisted throughout his career.

Before the BBC’s tributes were aired, however, journalists on the BBC2 programme Newsnight had been investigating the datk side of the apparently saintly entertainer. Their enquiries centred around Savile’s regular visits during the 1970s to Duncroft, an approved local authority school for emotional disturbed girls aged between 13 and 18 in Staines, Surrey, which closed in 1980. It emerged that in 2007 Surrey Police and the Crown Prosecution Service had investigated a historic complaint that Savile had abused girls at the school but no action had been take.

Newsnight tracked down several ex-Duncroft pupils, now middle-aged women, who confirmed that Savile had molested them when they were aged 14 or 15. At least one woman gave an on-camera, on-the-record interview to Newsnight about the abuse she had suffered.

As Goslett goes on to say, this was a coup by any standard. However, prior to the story being broadcast the story was dropped.

The BBC’s official line has always been that the report was abandoned purely because there were not enough facts to substantiate a particular angle they were pursuing relating to the Crown Prosecution Service. Their spokesman said: ‘Any suggestion that a story was dropped for anything other than editorial reasons is completely untrue.’

Goslett then explains that “a BBC source” revealed to him that “this is a smokescreen” and there were other reasons why the story was pulled.

First, the extreme nature of the claims about Savile meant that the Newsnight report was going to seriously compromise the lavish BBC tributes scheduled to run later that month. And second, the allegations directly involved the BBC in that the woman who gave the interview said that she and others were abused by Savile on BBC premises. To be precise, she told Newsnight that some abuse took place in Savile’s dressing-room at BBC Television Centre in West London after recordings of Clunk-Click, a children’s programme which he presented in 1973 and 1974; she also alleged that two other celebrities, both still alive, sexually abused Duncroft girls at Television Centre.

This allegations that the abuse took place on BBC property has left the BBC open to accusations of a cover, as the Daily Telegraph reports:

The BBC now stands accused of covering up the allegations, which were detailed in The Oldie magazine, because senior executives did not want the corporation’s reputation to be tarnished.

A BBC News source said: “The extreme nature of the claims about Savile meant that the Newsnight report was going to seriously compromise the lavish BBC tributes scheduled to run later the same month.

“And second, the allegations directly involved the BBC, in that the woman who gave the interview said that she and others were abused by Savile on BBC premises.”

...

A Newsnight spokesman refused to answer any questions about the report or to deny that Helen Boaden, the corporation’s news chief, was personally involved in the decision to kill it. “Any suggestion that a story was dropped for anything other than editorial reasons is completely untrue,” the spokesman said.

“The BBC gathers information on hundreds of stories and not all make it to air. In this case the angle we were pursuing could not be substantiated.”
Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general, knew that the Newsnight team were working on the story but is understood to have played no part in the decision to shelve it.

Sources said that he was made aware of the investigation shortly before it was dropped, “but it was mentioned in passing at a social function and he was in no way involved in the decision to drop it”.

These are very serious allegations, which Goslett followed-up in his Oldie article by contacting the 3 women who were interviewed by the BBC concerning their allegations.

They allege that [Savile] gave them rewards such as cigarettes, records, and small amounts of money in return for sexual favours. Two of the women said that they also recall being taken for a drive in Savile’s car in the Surrey countryside where abuse took place on the understanding that they could be in the audience of Clunk Click. A third woman said that Savile had committed one comparatively minor indecent assault on her at Duncroft but she was aware that other girls experienced far worse.

The BBC has some very serious questions to answer over Goslett’s article, especially the allegations involving the 2 living celebrities who “sexually abused Duncroft girls at Television Centre.” Was this information, when given to the Newsnight reporters passed on to the Police?

Has the BBC instigated an in-house inquiry into these allegations? If not, why not?

The hoo-hah over Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross verbal abuse is a piss in the ocean compared to the allegations about Savile and co., and as Goslett warns at the end of his article:

The BBC should be aware that the matter is not at an end. Many of Savile’s other victims - and those of other celebrities with whom he mixed in the 1960s and 70s - are preparing to speak out.

Of course, the big question is why didn’t they speak out sooner? Which has always been the problem with proving any of the rumors that circulated about Savile for so long. However, perhaps the allegations against the living celebrities if substantiated, may prove to be theirs, the Beeb’s and Savile’s eventual undoing?

Here exclusively on Dangerous Minds is the whole of Miles Goslett‘s excellent article as published in The Oldie, on February 8th, 2012.

The Oldie was the first magazine to cover the allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile, and the failure of the BBC to investigate the claims properly.

HOW’S ABOUT THAT THEN?

Savile row

Why did the BBC drop a Newsnight report investigating allegations of sexual abuse made against its long-serving employee Jimmy Savile?

Miles Goslett investigates

When Sir Jimmy Savile died last October he was given a generally rapturous send-off in the press, with fulsome tributes to his charitable work. Savile’s old employer the BBC joined in the celebration with two tribute programmes on TV and one on radio, all broadcast over Christmas. No mention was made of the unsavoury rumours about Savile’s private life which had persisted throughout his career.

Before the BBC’s tributes were aired, however, journalists on the BBC2 programme Newsnight had been investigating the dark side of the apparently saintly entertainer. Their enquiries centred around Savile’s regular visits during the 1970s to Duncroft, an approved local authority school for emotionally disturbed girls aged between 13 and 18 in Staines, Surrey, which closed in 1980. It emerged that in 2007 Surrey Police and the Crown Prosecution Service had investigated a historic complaint that Savile had abused girls at the school but that no action had been taken.

Newsnight tracked down several ex-Duncroft pupils, now middle-aged women, who confirmed that Savile had molested them when they were aged 14 or 15. At least one woman gave an on-camera, on-the-record interview to Newsnight about the abuse she had suffered.

By any standards this was a scoop which would have attracted a considerable amount of attention. However, at a late stage the Newsnight report, due to be shown in mid-December, was dropped.

The BBC’s official line has always been that the report was abandoned purely because there were not enough facts to substantiate a particular angle they were pursuing relating to the Crown Prosecution Service. Their spokesman said: ‘Any suggestion that a story was dropped for anything other than editorial reasons is completely untrue.’

However a BBC News source has revealed to me that this is a smokescreen and there were unquestionably other reasons underlying the decision.

First, the extreme nature of the claims about Savile meant that the Newsnight report was going to seriously compromise the lavish BBC tributes scheduled to run later the same month.

And second, the allegations directly involved the BBC in that the woman who gave the interview said that she and others were abused by Savile on BBC premises. To be precise, she told Newsnight that some abuse took place in Savile’s dressing-room at BBC Television Centre in West London after recordings of Clunk-Click, a children’s programme which he presented in 1973 and 1974; she also alleged that two other celebrities, both still alive, sexually abused Duncroft girls at Television Centre.

I have contacted three women who were interviewed by the BBC concerning the allegations about Savile. They allege that he gave them rewards such as cigarettes, records, and small amounts of money in return for sexual favours. Two of the women said that they also recall being taken for a drive in Savile’s car in the Surrey countryside where abuse took place on the understanding that they could be in the audience of Clunk-Click. A third woman said that Savile had committed one comparatively minor indecent assault on her at Duncroft but that she was aware that other girls experienced far worse.

The BBC has serious questions to answer. The Newsnight investigation uncovered information of which Surrey Police was not aware, and moreover allegations were made about living people. Surely the BBC had a duty to inform the police about these disclosures? Yet there is no indication that it has done so, and the BBC has refused to answer questions about this. Furthermore, given that Savile was on the BBC’s payroll for more than 25 years, and along with the other celebrities who are still alive, is alleged to have abused minors on BBC premises, shouldn’t the Corporation have launched an in-house inquiry? When asked if BBC Director-General Mark Thompson knew of the Newsnight report, the BBC refused to comment. But a source has told me that Thompson was tackled about the axing of the report at a pre-Christmas drinks party, so he
cannot claim to be ignorant of it.

The BBC should be aware that the matter is not at an end. Many of Savile’s other victims – and those of other celebrities with whom he mixed in the 1960s and 70s – are preparing to speak out.

 
Miles_Goslett_Jimmy_Savile_The_Oldie_Exclusive
 
Via The Oldie
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher

 

 

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