This week a documentary called Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile will be broadcast in Britain on ITV1. The documentary centers on allegations made by 5 women against the DJ, and former Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It presenter. It is claimed Sir Jimmy Savile committed acts of serious sexual assault, including rape, against girls as young as 12, whilst an employee of the BBC in the early 1970s.
The attacks are alleged to have taken place at various locations, including hotels, Savile’s Rolls Royce and at the Top of the Pops studio at BBC Television Center, which Savile is alleged to have described as a “happy hunting ground”..
A former detective, Mark Williams-Thomas carried out the TV investigation into the claims against Savile, in particular the presenter’s sexual activities at the BBC, which the program claims were an “open secret” at the BBC.
In response to the allegations which have appeared in various newspapers, the BBC issued a denial that it had investigated allegations of misconduct against Savile, but “no such evidence has been found.”
“Whilst the BBC condemns any of behavior of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action.”
It’s the kind of bureaucratic doublespeak one expects form the BBC, which does not explain the fact some BBC employees were aware of Jimmy Savile’s sexual activities.
In the documentary, a BBC producer, Wilfred De’Ath, who worked on the radio talk show Teen Scene in the 1960s, said:
“[Savile] had a reputation, he had a shocking reputation for young women, but it was all hearsay, I didn’t know whether to believe it or not.
“So I turned up at the Lotus House, I think it was on a Friday evening and there he was sitting on a banquette with this very young girl, I would guess she was 12 if you’d ask me to guess.
‘I asked him where he’d found her, I said ‘where did you pick her up?’ And he said ‘Oh Top of the Pops’.
And I said, I remember saying ‘Is that your happy hunting ground?’ and he said ‘Yes’.”
De’Ath also added:
“I said to him once, ‘Aren’t you living dangerously?’. He replied, ‘I’m too valuable to the BBC for them to do anything about it’. He used Top of the Pops to pick up girls. He was very open about it. He never hid his sexual proclivities, he was open about sex with young girls.”
Former Radio 1 DJ, Paul Gambaccini claimed “Sir Jimmy Savile used his charity fundraising work as a lever to prevent his private life being exposed,” the Press Association reports.
‘Gambaccini said his former Radio 1 colleague played tabloid newspapers “like a Stradivarius” to keep any allegations of impropriety quiet.
Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile is due to be screened on Wednesday and details claims from women dating to the 1970s that he had abused girls in his Rolls-Royce and at BBC Television Centre.
‘Gambaccini, speaking on ITV1’s Daybreak, said he had been “waiting 30 years” for such stories to come out. He said Sir Jimmy was “about to be exposed” by one newspaper but to prevent its publication he gave an interview to a rival tabloid which had the effect of stopping the negative piece.
‘Gambaccini went on: “On another occasion, and this cuts to the chase of the whole matter, he was called and he said ‘well you could run that story, but if you do there goes the funds that come in to Stoke Mandeville - do you want to be responsible for the drying up of the charity donations?’ And they backed down.”’
Sue Thompson was a newsroom assistant at BBC Leeds, when Savile was presenting Speakeasy in 1978. Thompson walked in on Savile as he was fondling a 14-year-old.
“He had his left arm up her skirt and…he was kissing her.”
“The first time something happened he actually got me into the… it was like an alcove in the dressing room and he pushed me back against the wall and then it was a hand up the skirt and touching me.
“It was always a very quick fumble. He was very strong and he would pin you up against somewhere, quick fumble, hand up the skirt and that was it.
“He would grab any opportunity to do it, so other times it would be in the corridor again.
“If there was an alcove he would just push you into it, quick fumble and then carry on as normal.
“When I was 16 one of these fumbles turned into sex, full sex, which I didn’t realise that’s what was happening. It sounds really stupid I didn’t realise but again, I was a naive girl. And he promised me he wasn’t going all the way, but he did. There was no foreplay, no romance. I’m sure it’s why he always wore a shell suit… so he could just whip his elastic shell suit bottoms down very quickly.
“It was just a quick act of sex, there was nothing else you would call it really. I remember it always, I remember it being a struggle, with me trying to pushhim off and him again pinning me down with his body weight. And then the deed was over.
“As a mature woman now, I look back and I think I was actually raped on that first occasion because I definitely didn’t know we were going to have full sex. I definitely said to him, ‘You’re not going to go all the way’.
“So looking back I think, ‘Oh my God, he actually raped me’.
“I was very young and he was in his 40s.He was always a very charismatic man and quite a powerful personality.
“I think as young girls we got caught up in that whole experience at the time, sort of living the life, almost living the life with a celebrity, because you know if you were with him you had access to places and you met famous people.
“It was only when I was much older I looked back and got more distressed. I think when he was alive I would have been too frightened to have spoken out.
“There was always an air of, I don’t know what you’d call it, not exactly menace but there was that air that he had power and that he had contacts and you wouldn’t want to mess with him.”
Another woman, Angie, spoke of how Savile abused her on several occasions.
“It was quick and it was in a London hotel. He invited me to come round. When I got there it was chitchat first of all.
And before I knew it he had me on the bed and he was having sex with me.
Jim didn’t do kissing, he didn’t do emotion or foreplay or anything. It was just basically what he wanted - in and out and that was it.
And afterwards it was as though nothing had happened.
I was very naïve. I had no idea what was happening and in the light of day he was a middle-aged man, he was in his early 40s.
He shouldn’t be doing that to 15-year-olds. And actually I’m quite angry and it’s quite repulsive what he did to me and other girls.
It happened on a number of occasions. On those occasions there was no one else in the dressing room except for him and I.
There was like a little sort of couch.He would have me lie down on it and just do the sex act really, really quickly, obviously before anyone else came into the dressing room. But it was very, very quick, very unemotional and that was it.
And that happened on a number of occasions as well as the sort of pinning up on a wall and so on.
But being a teenager and not understanding things you do blame yourself and there are so many mixed emotions with this.
But I’ve always been full of regret that it happened and that I wasn’t able to do anything about it and I didn’t understand it either. I just feel that he just took huge advantage of me.”
While 14-year-old Charlotte, who was at the Duncroft approved school, found herself locked-up in “isolation” after speaking-out after Savile assaulted her.
“We all went into this caravan and Jimmy Savile was there and the teacher was saying to us: “Oh he’s going to do a recording of all you girls and he’s going to play it on the radio”.
I don’t know if he beckoned me first but I do remember that I sat on his lap.
And then the next thing, I felt this hand, sort of go up my jumper and on my breast.
I jumped up, I absolutely freaked out and started swearing and “What do you think you’re doing?” And then I was just dragged out of the caravan by two of the staff.
I was told what a filthy mouth I have, how can I make those terrible accusations, Uncle Jimmy does nothing but good for the school and he was just so wonderful and me, I need to retract what I’d said, I need to apologise.
I was taken upstairs to the isolation unit, left there for two or three days and said that I could come back when I refrained from saying such filthy things.
When I came out I just didn’t say anything more because I hated it in the isolation unit.’
Last december, the BBC pulled a 10-minute film on the allegations against Savile from its flagship current affairs program Newsnight. It was claimed the item was dropped for “editorial reasons”. In light of ITV’s hour-long documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, questions again have to be asked as to why the BBC pulled the item, and who authorized it?
Further questions have also to be asked over why no investigation into Savile was carried out by the BBC, considering the amount of rumors about the presenter, and the amount eye-witness reports of his sexual activities that have come to light. Those who knew what Savile was doing to young girls are equally culpable by their inaction, a point TV presenter, and founder of the children’s charity Childline, Esther Rantzen made in an interview with ITV1:
“I feel that we in television in his world in some way colluded with him as a child abuser - because I now believe that’s what he was.”
It has now also emerged that Sir Jimmy Savile was questioned by Police in 2007, over the abuse allegations, but no charges were brought against him.
I met Jimmy Savile when he took part on the BBC children’s interview series Open to Question in 1989. I was a researcher on the show, and had heard various seedy rumors about Savile’s sexual activities. I had also read, in Savile’s autobiography As It Happens, his boasts about his “passion wagon” - the Bedford van, which he used to drive to-and-from DJ gigs - that had a mattress in the back, where he had sex with girls after a night spinning the discs. When asked by a member of the audience about his “passion wagon”, Savile visibly bristled and accused the questioner of being primed.
As we prepared to clear the studio floor after filming, the producer and Head of Features Department, David Martin, and myself approached Savile, who was talking to the audience. A youngster again asked about his “passion wagon”, Savile admitted it. Martin turned and said to me, “We should have kept the cameras running.”
The following day, Savile contacted the office, and was told by one member of staff that the children in the audience were “primed” by being given a brief biography of each interviewee. Savile then contacted the Daily Express, which ran a story on how he was “stitched-up”.
If anyone has been “stitched-up” it is the girls who were abused by Savile and whose suffering has been ignored and denied, until a year after Savile’s death. Moreover, to suggest their allegations are unfair because Savile no longer has a right of reply, treats these women with the same high-handed contempt an abuser does a victim.
Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile will be broadcast at 23.10 on Wednesday October 3rd, on ITV.
Previously on Dangerous Minds